Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIII, No. 7
 
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
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Cinema

For more movie summaries, see Kam’s Kapsules.


I’VE GOT YOU IN MY SIGHTS!: Interpol agent Louis Salinger (Clive Owen) is chasing down one of his enemies on the ramp of the Guggenheim museum in an attempt, together with his partner Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Eleanor Whitman (Naomi Watts, not shown) to prevent the International Bank of Business and Credit from arranging a deal that would allow several Middle Eastern Countries from purchasing missiles from China that could reach the city of Tel Aviv in Israel.

The International: Owen and Watts Wasted in Ambitious Political Potboiler

Kam Williams

Was Run Lola Run a fluke? When released a decade ago, that frenetic crime thriller landed on many critics’ top 10 list for 1999, present company included. But despite being given considerably larger budgets, German director Tom Twyker has never managed to make another movie which measures up to Lola. Twyker appears to be over his head when he tries to direct a Hollywood blockbuster.

For example, The International, is an ambitious political potboiler starring Clive Owen and Naomi Watts. The film was shot in an array of exotic locations ranging from New York, London, and Berlin, to Potsdam, Milan, and Istanbul. Plus, it features a life-size replica of the Guggenheim Art Museum which provides the setting for a dizzying shootout on the museum’s familiar circular ramp.

The plot involves Interpol Agent Louis Salinger (Owen) and Manhattan Assistant district attorney Eleanor Whitman (Watts) who are trying to break up an intercontinental money-laundering operation that is being run out of a conglomerate called the International Bank of Business and Credit (IBCC). The IBBC has cornered the market on small arms and is about to broker a deal between China and some Middle East countries, that are hostile to Israel, for guided missiles that are capable of reaching Tel Aviv.

The movie opens in Berlin where Salinger has been assigned to work with Whitman following the death of her partner (Ian Burfield) under suspicious circumstances. It seems that her partner wasn’t the first person who was investigating the IBBC that died in a freak accident or disappeared under suspicious circumstances.

What ensues is a globe trotting game of cat-and-mouse which takes the pair to plenty of places where neither has jurisdiction to operate. Salinger works for Interpol and Whitman, who is an attorney, isn’t even a law enforcement officer.

Nonetheless, Salinger behaves like the classic gunslinging loose cannon who ignores the rules and whose body is impervious to bullets, while Whitman plays the damsel-in-distress.

Perhaps because English is not the director’s native language, much of the dialogue has the characters talking in trite fortune-cookie-speak, such as “Sometimes, a man can meet his destiny on the road he took to avoid it” and “Sometimes, the hardest thing in life is knowing which bridge to cross.”

And sometimes a script is so pathetic that the picture should never have been made in the first place.

Fair (1 star). Rated R for profanity and graphic violence. Running time: 118 minutes. Studio: Columbia Pictures.

For more movie summaries, see Kam’s Kapsules.

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