The International

User Score
6.4

Generally favorable reviews- based on 81 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 43 out of 81
  2. Negative: 14 out of 81

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User Reviews

  1. Nov 15, 2014
    6
    The International: 6 out of 10: The International has great timing. Not since The China Syndrome opened up 12 days before the Three Mile Island Accident, has a movie seemed so prescient (Or in The international’s case ripped from the headlines.) A therein lies one of The International’s two main problems. It is ripped from the headlines. The problem is the headlines in question are fromThe International: 6 out of 10: The International has great timing. Not since The China Syndrome opened up 12 days before the Three Mile Island Accident, has a movie seemed so prescient (Or in The international’s case ripped from the headlines.) A therein lies one of The International’s two main problems. It is ripped from the headlines. The problem is the headlines in question are from 1989. The movie is about The BCCI collapse. Unfortunately the script mimics the actual late eighties scandal a little to accurately for its own good.

    There are clues that the script had been collecting dust for some time before the new bank crisis prompted it back in the mix. For example, one of the more famous BCCI clients was Samuel Doe, who was president of Liberia in the early eighties. Not exactly ripped from the headlines stuff, but the International doggedly creates a General Charles Motomba, played gamily by Lucian Msamati, who takes over Liberia with the banks help. Something that makes little sense in a year that starts with a two.

    In another, what decade is this again moment, the hit man uses a payphone after receiving what appears to be a beeper message. For those under 35, and not 30 Rock fans, let me explain what a beeper was. A beeper was a cell phone that did not make calls. It only receives phone numbers. Then you, the recipient of a “beep”, would have to find a payphone and call the number to talk to someone.

    Now a payphone was a phone that the public would use instead of their own separate cell phones. They were metal and had many germs. If you visit a public transport hub, you can sometimes still find “banks” of phones.

    If it seems I am nitpicking, keep in mind the film itself lives in some uncanny valley between Michael Clayton and The Bourne Identity. Not nearly realistic enough for Clayton fans; and for the Bourne fans? Well there are about as many action set pieces as there are hours the film runs. (Read two) It is a surprisingly talky affair.

    Speaking of talking, “Sometimes a man can meet his destiny on the road he took to avoid it.” Can someone explain that quote to me. Our rumpled protagonist says it at least twice and it makes no bloody sense either time.

    In addition, speaking of not making sense… late in the film in Istanbul (not Constantinople) one bad guy says to the other let me show you a something few man have seen and proceeds to take him to the Basilica Cistern. You know that underground canal features In From Russia with Love and maybe the second Indiana Jones film and is one of Turkey’s biggest tourist attractions. This makes about as much sense if he said it about the Statue of Liberty. (There is this statue; in the harbor, few men have seen my friend) Overall, the acting, direction and cinematography are decent. However the story is dated and the film is simply too stupid to be an intellectual thriller, and too slow for an action movie. It certainly is a passable if mediocre timewaster overall.
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  2. Sep 7, 2012
    4
    A lot of drama, but not a lot of suspense. The music was limited which made me bored for most of the movie. The action didn't get under way until the middle of the movie. Overall, a toss-up movie with a slow plot.
  3. TonyB.
    Aug 5, 2009
    5
    I wasn't bored, didn't believe most of it, wished Naomi Watts' part was bigger, thought the museum set piece was overdone and pleasantly surprised that the two leads maintained a professional relationship throughout.
  4. halb
    Jun 15, 2009
    6
    Overall a disappointment. However, the shootout in the Guggenheim alone may be worth the price of admission. An amazing sequence. Also, if you're into architecture of major world cities, you'll enjoy this! Have to agree with those who have panned Naomi Watts' acting -- geesh.
  5. LinLamb
    Jun 13, 2009
    5
    Clive Owen is wonderfully watchable, and always a great one to play characters who battle against The Powers That Be. Yet unlike his similar films, this one gives us scant reason to care about his cause or anyone else in the film. How did this bank case become sooooo important to him, and what does it really mean? Nowhere in the film do we really get a clue.
  6. JayH.
    May 31, 2009
    6
    Some great action sequences, awesome locarion shooting and a great cast, but the story is way too complex and over the top. Top notch production, fine cinematography and editing.
  7. Lynn
    Mar 9, 2009
    4
    long and slow, sadly not nearly as good as expected.
  8. ChadS.
    Feb 14, 2009
    6
    The son knows exactly how daddy is able to outfit the family in a lap of luxury. He isn't sent out of the room when Jonas(Ulrich Thomsen) conducts his questionable business dealings with multi-national bank associates over the video phone. The call had interrupted their game, in which the IBBC CEO was teaching young Cassian, through metaphorical means, the nuts and bolts of amoral The son knows exactly how daddy is able to outfit the family in a lap of luxury. He isn't sent out of the room when Jonas(Ulrich Thomsen) conducts his questionable business dealings with multi-national bank associates over the video phone. The call had interrupted their game, in which the IBBC CEO was teaching young Cassian, through metaphorical means, the nuts and bolts of amoral banking practices. After the transmission is completed, Jonas asks his son for advice, as a test of the lesson he just imparted over their loaded game. The boy's answer indicates that the protege has learned his lessons well. The rich are different. More domestic scenes like this one, in which the filmmaker explicates on the mentality of the unaccountably rich, would have been more welcome than the genre-required ones which only shows the mechanics of this moral disorder that the corporate suits are seemingly afflicted with these days. As a result, "The International" has clarity issues pertaining to the specifics of the bank's commercial indiscretions. By the time Louis(Clive Owen) tracks his man down on the Turkish rooftops, most viewers will only have an abstract sense of Jonas' transgression. It's hard to muster up any animosity for a character that's somewhat underwritten. This filmmaker, previously known for art house fare such as "Lola rennt", and "Der Kreiger und die Kaiserin", finds the perfect metaphor for his crossover into commercial filmmaking, by staging an action set-piece in the Guggenheim Museum, where he proceeds to make mincemeat out of art(as does Hollywood). Expand
  9. BryanP
    Feb 14, 2009
    6
    Not a bad story. I was taken out of the movie by some of the acting, like when Naomi Watts slammed her HURT hand on the table to show indignation. The ending left was not good at all but I don't know how it could be done differently.
  10. WilliamN.
    Feb 13, 2009
    4
    Not sure what to rate this film. I like the principals. I enjoyed the secondaries and all the crowd fillers...Ostensibly about BCCI way back when, you remember that? None of us does...and what sticks with you is not the beautiful cinematography, but will be second, to the point of philosophy wherein when will there be someone who will actually stand up to all the crap in the world and get Not sure what to rate this film. I like the principals. I enjoyed the secondaries and all the crowd fillers...Ostensibly about BCCI way back when, you remember that? None of us does...and what sticks with you is not the beautiful cinematography, but will be second, to the point of philosophy wherein when will there be someone who will actually stand up to all the crap in the world and get something done? And, really, is it so true that, you become one of them if you do...and, so bleak, you can't work within the system, and get rid of the baddies...This is NEVER a bad point to make, and for me, the film worked. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Seriously. For me in general, a film works or it doesn't, and for me, it did. I hate rating things...and so gave it a 4...but I'm sure, these "pans" here will, make a strange statement to box office receipts. Can't wait for the next Clive Owen piece, though we have to wade through that girl from Biloxi (MS.'s) "presence" on the screen too. Oh well. That will be another review. Expand
Metascore
52

Mixed or average reviews - based on 34 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 34
  2. Negative: 3 out of 34
  1. 30
    Both actors (Owens and Watts) seem mildly aggrieved (and not at all convincing) at having to play characters considerably less intelligent than themselves in a movie that plays even dumber.
  2. There's something almost endearingly out of sync about the sleek but now dated Euro-thriller The International.
  3. I couldn't help feeling that The International was stuck in second gear, like it couldn't decide whether to be fun or meaningful and so settled for being neither.