Mar 112009
Authors: Kelley Bleck

An agent goes after a large bank for murder and illegal arms handling, but, as in all action movies, this does not go over well. Following the usual dramatic path of unexpected assassinations and predictable plot twists that make the viewer question the ending, “The International” follows the downfall of conniving, greedy businessmen.

Lois Salinger (Clive Owen) begins uncovering a large conspiracy driving the international bank IBBC. As he and his partner, Eleanor Whitman (Naomi Watts), dig deeper into the ties between businesses, overseas conflicts and illegal arms dealing, they encounter a thick string of undercover conspiracies.

The action begins gradually, jarred by an unexpected death in the first scene sequence. An introduction of action and background establishes each character’s experiences and how they respond to the events that follow.

Owen aptly portrays an unpredictable, previously unstable agent who follows his cut-and-dry civil instincts. When Salinger believes in something, he follows it to the end despite all opposition.

However, the character develops an obnoxious tick: the uncanny ability to conspicuously stare directly at the person he is trying to secretly follow.

Watts exemplifies the role of helping hand for Owen as a quieter, more subdued agent. Even though she is supposed to be predictable, Watts plays a role that changes with the circumstances. Toward the end she portrays her character’s instability in making difficult choices, but she ultimately leans toward a conscientious and fair decision.

Throughout the chase, the script follows a standard play-by-play action sequence. A shootout occurs, but there is no car chase as would be expected in such a thriller.

This is unlike other action films and does not overpower the viewer with constant shooting and action. The suspense is intertwined with conversation, but the dialogue drags on in some moments, distracting from the overall purpose of the script.

Encountering each delinquent character is an immensely tense feat, one that Owen and Watts display nicely. Despite her main part in the script, Watts is absent in most of the high intensity scenes.

The script was decently written, enthralling enough to keep tension going throughout the film, but some of the dialogue could have been cut down. The movie’s unpredictable ending was refreshing, avoiding the typical “good guy wins, bad guy is defeated.”

Twists made the movie worthwhile, and each actor added their individual takes on the characters. The combination of these elements made “The International” a well-done and effective action film.

Staff writer Kelly Bleck can be reached a

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