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PHOTOGRAPHY

THE INTERNATIONAL (2009)
DVD Review by David Blackwell
 
DETAILS:  118 minutes, audio commentary, extended scene, featurettes
VIDEO:  2.40:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen)
AUDIO:  English 5.1, French Dolby Surround
Subtitles:  English (including all extras), French, Spanish
 
STUDIO:  Columbia Pictures/ Relativity Media/ Atlas Entertainment/ Mosiac Media Group/ Rose Line Productions/ Siebte Babelsberg Film
Theatrical RELEASE DATE:   2-13-2009
DVD RELEASE DATE:  6-9-2009
 
STARRING Clive Owen (Agent Louis Salinger), Naomi Watts (Eleanor Whitman), Armin Mueller-Stahl (Wilhelm Wexler), Ulrich Thomsen (Jonas Skarssen)
WRITTEN by Eric Singer
DIRECTED by Tom Tykwer

ANALALYSIS:   Interpol Agent Salinger (Clive Owen) has spent years trying to bring down The International Bank of Business and Commerce.   The IBBC is using money to help broker international arms deals to third world countries.    Saligner is trying to bring that to light with the help of the New York District Attorney's office.   He is teamed up with ADA Eleanor Whitman to expose IBBC's role.    THE INTERNATIONAL starts with a meeting with an IBBC insider (in Berlin) who wants to broker a deal.   The guy who is sent to meet him is killed a minute after and the insider is soon found dead in a car accident.   Salinger knows the fix is in as he knows the investigation is ignored or undermined at every step.

THE INTERNATIONAL is a well-written thriller with top notch direction by Tom Tywker (of RUN LOLA RUN).   The film is so close to reality that it is frightening.   The action scenes crackle with the shoot out in a New York City Guggenheim Museum being the best.   Clive Owen leads a cast of great actors.  Naomi Watts is in another film with Armin Mueller-Stahl even though they are never in the same room (they shared a few scenes in EASTERN PROMISES).    The locations range from Berlin to Milan to New York City to Istanbul that help ground the film's story even further.   With the amounts of money that big banks control, sometimes there is bound to be corruption.    The current banking crisis does highlight some of the problems that banks create by trying to create debt.

THE INTERNATIONAL is at best an entertaining thriller that does hint at the problems while focusing more on the action and a man's quest to bring down a bank even if it means losing his soul.  THE INTERNATIONAL is in the vien of excllent 1970s thrillers like THE PARALLAX VIEW and THREE DAYS OF THE CONDOR. Also, it is timely given how many people are looking down at big banks these days. If you want to be entertained, this film does it in waves with the action, direction, and acting.

SPECIAL FEATURES:
The audio commentary for the film is by Director Tom Tykwer and Writer Eric Singer walks you through the film and giving tidbits about it.
 
The extended scene is about 11 1/2 minutes long and features more of Salinger's paranoia and we find out he has a daughter (who comes for a visit).
MAKING THE INTERNATIONAL is a making of featurette that goes into the characters, story, using locations as another charcter in the film, shooting many scenes in 65mm, the actors, how Salinger looks, and building the Guggenheim on a soundstage (another featurette- SHOOTING AT THE GUGGENHEIM- focuses on this aspect of the production).   Another featurette (THE AUTOSTADT) shows the crew shooting at the Volkswagon theme park (for the IBBC Bank Headquarters) while the final featurette (THE ARCHITECTURE OF THE INTERNATIONAL) focuses on the vairous buildings and cities used in the film.
 
FINAL ANALYSIS:    THE INTERNATIONAL is a solid thriller that holds up on repeat viewings with some excellent extras.   It is definitely one of the better films of the year and the Guggenheim shoot-out is one of the highlights.
 
this DVD review is (c)6-9-2009 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission.  send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com