Warning: Contains spoilers.
The International opens with a close-up of Clive Owen looking scraggly, stubbly, and sleep-deprived. He’s looking at you. In the rain. SOLD!
Clive Owen playing a guy on the worst day of his life is hotter than any perfectly-styled pretty boy. For starters, he can play men. (Remember how he destroyed Jude Law in two words in The Closer? “You…writer!”) In this. . .banking thriller (not an oxymoron!) by Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run, The Princess and The Warriorâ€”good. Perfumeâ€”execrable) he plays a stressed-out Interpol agent investigating a bank’s links to weapons sales. The bank is not only into weapons sales, it also funds coups in Third World countries, arranges assassinations, and is generally eevil. Oh excuse me, amoral. The International actually makes you feel good about the financial meltdown…until you remember that you’re screwed and the financial geniuses who crashed the market will still get their bonuses.
Naomi Watts does what she can with a seriously cardboard role. She wears a lot of mufflers. There’s an impressive shoot-out at the Guggenheim Museumâ€”why didn’t someone think of that before? Also a lot of travelogue: Berlin, Milan, Manhattan, Istanbul. Tykwer demonstrates that the old Hitchcock formula for suspense still works: you know something’s going to happen, the protagonists don’t, eeeeeeeeee.
I recommend you see The International right after you get your credit card bill.