At the Movies with Kevin: The International

“The International,” a superbly crafted and tense examination of a horrifically corrupted world, opens with a shot of Clive Owen’s determined face, ambiguous to the rain and darkness he peers through because it has become second nature to him. The precipitation echoes the overwhelming force of the evildoers conquering the capitalistic world we inhabit, which Owen has become immune to but continues to fight against. As Owen sees another lead meet its demise, he begins to question whether it is possible to defeat an entity that controls everything. Just as you cannot tell the all-powerful God to stop the rain, how will you force the bank that controls the monetary world to seize from acting unethically and inhumanely?

Clive Owen is perfectly suited to play Louis Salinger, an intelligence official intent on uncovering the corruption of the I.B.B.C. and destroying its reputation with the truth of its offenses. Owen has complete focus and awareness as he did in the 2006 futuristic nightmare “Children of Men,” also filmed in a dark tone that reminded the viewers of the evil that cascaded over the landscape. The intenseness of his eyes continuously impose a feeling of dread and urgency that is present in this existence of spies and intelligence agencies with no motive other than to protect their private interests rather than the human combatants that provide the information. “The International” understands that in this new world the villains are the clean shaven individuals with the $3000 suits and the heroes are those with scruffy beards and tattered clothes who have not slept in days.

There is not a moment when the audience does not sense that Salinger’s life not in danger and the reason he continues on this perpetual mission to obliterate this bank is because the success or failure of this enterprise is how he measures the value of his life. The noticeable absence of anyone outside of the investigation echoes this sentiment, illustrating absorption unparalleled for those with normal social lives. Salinger has no alternative than resorting to this sad existence, a necessary one for an individual with nobody to trust while attempting to defeat this bank. In a way, Salinger is furious that the bank has stripped him of any possibility of a normal life even though he is partially responsible, and yet continues to commit his entire being to this seemingly futile task.

This fulfilling family life is still possible for Eleanor Whitman (Naomi Watts), a wife and mother working for the Manhattan District Attorney’s office and aiding in the inquiry of this bank while attempting to avoid all of the red tape surfaces when confronting the complexities of international law. “The International” does not fall into the obligatory plot pitfalls of most thrillers with the relationship between Salinger and Whitman. The love amid the two leads is within a tireless search for truth and justice, but in a corrosive world that only rewards villains, is it possible to achieve the sense of fairness they covet?

“The International” is often difficult to follow, which is correct. The entire cast has razor-sharp precision in their roles with a pointed message that is expressed potently without being engulfing, although they might be anonymous to one another. The most brilliant and intricate sequence is at the Guggenheim museum that provides real casualties combined with breathless and nonstop action. “The International” believes that banks might be more dangerous than any dictator or war currently taking place because they are profiting on the debt and deaths these conflicts produce.

“The International” ends in a realistic manner, understanding the themes and truths that it has previously instituted without granting the happy ending one might expect from most action films.

It is rare in this time to have a thriller with ideas that make a real statement about the problems the world has to deal with and makes no compromises about its feelings of the individuals who are rewarded for their efforts on the same nefarious dealings that pervade the continuous unraveling of our moralistic ideals.

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