Last Updated: February 23, 2009By Tags:

(By Ali Naderzad) Tom Twyker’s “The International” is a winner of a film, but with a slightly shallow premise. IBBC is the high-profile financial outfit with rather questionable business interests, ie., to supply arms to third-world armed conflicts in order to create, and therefore control, debt. I heard an economist explaining that such a premise does not hold water but who cares, really? The movie is awfully entertaining. Tom Twyker, whose name is forever linked to the vital “Lola Rennt” (1998) (and, less happily, to “Perfume”) managed to make a film that is above the usual par of thrillers medium and small studios (since we now live in the era of the mid- and small-range movie studio) keep churning out and will keep you–yes, I’m saying it–on the edge of your seat. Clive Owen and Naomi Watts, two of my favorite actors today, pair up under the auspices of the New York Disrict Attorney’s office as they try to find the loose string that will make IBBC collapse. When bodies pile up or simply disappear, it’s obvious that something sinister is afoot with the bank’s cadres. Twyker generally dispenses with deep thoughts in the dialogue and so the dialogues in “The International” are fluid and effective, helping drive the ever-thickening plot forward. Fortunately Twyker recognizes the film’s only real flaw and doesn’t linger over it too much. The bank’s motives, ie, controlling third-world debt, is expounded on only once when major customer from an African country in the throes of a civil war stops in to visit the bank’s president. The latter is played by Ulrich Thomsen perfectly: coldly, blandly and calculating.

Without giving anything away, next I give you the following two facts: a replica of the entire Guggenheim museum had to be built in Twyker’s native Berlin for the film and one of the most thrilling shootout scenes in recent cinema (these sorts of details are rarely lost on yours truly) happens.
“The International” is not your garden-variety thriller. Twyker ably steers the film clear of the usual cliches in that genre and the this-is-your-lesson-to-be-learned inanities that you might see in a Ron Howard film. A definite must-see!