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. Oct 4, 2012
    8
    Im going to be brief on this one: is you're looking for a mindless action film, then there is nothing to see here. But if you're looking for a movie with a good plot and mature story, then you will be pleased!
  3. 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.
  4. JeffL
    Aug 17, 2009
    9
    God forbid we enjoy a movie for its story anymore. That's what the majority of opinions out there are hinting at. We care for violence and explosion and techno-babble and special effects galore. Can't forget the obligatory sex scene too! So many reviews discredit this movie's true worth. Yes, the shootout at the Guggenheim was awesome, but to say that this scene alone would God forbid we enjoy a movie for its story anymore. That's what the majority of opinions out there are hinting at. We care for violence and explosion and techno-babble and special effects galore. Can't forget the obligatory sex scene too! So many reviews discredit this movie's true worth. Yes, the shootout at the Guggenheim was awesome, but to say that this scene alone would be worth the price of admission? Ugh. The plot was masterful, in my opinion. It really is a thinking-individual's thriller because you have to be vested enough in the plot to do some thinking. You have to pay very close attention to many things, many characters and the fronts they represent, and you have to add it all in as the plot progresses. You have to think as one each one of them the whole time, either Salinger, Skarssen (banker-villain), the assassin, Col. Wexler...etc. They all have such distinct roles in this story, each with any imaginable direction. The characters, to me, are what really make this movie because each one has their own desires in a game with the highest stakes. I especially loved Salinger because he is this overly dedicated crime fighter that is chasing a case with so many dead ends it's unbelieveable. His very first witness and his family "died in a car accident". His partner was killed right in front of him at the beginning of the movie, and so was the material witness. All right in front of his face, yet this enemy is untouchable because it's everywhere and so innocent at first glance. The menace was chilling as it was misleading. Too good. I love this movie for so many reasons. Too bad most people just can't see it. Too vested in action and simple, linear plot lines. Oh well. Expand
  5. 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.
  6. DaDa
    Jul 22, 2009
    1
    This movie is one of those that you get more enjoyment from watching the one-minute trailer than the actual movie. The plot does not develop; The main characters never connected; We are basically led around the world in a mindless chase. Very disappointing indeed.
  7. MelancholicAlcoholic
    Jun 19, 2009
    8
    Finally! A well written action-thriller, with a strong focus on the thriller part, rather than the action. It has a meticulously thought out script, so as not to bore the audience. It's misunderstood as primarily an action flick, which was done for US-marketing reasons only. This film is neither for the multiplex crowd nor for the liberal-slant-seeking rightwing conspiracy theorists. Finally! A well written action-thriller, with a strong focus on the thriller part, rather than the action. It has a meticulously thought out script, so as not to bore the audience. It's misunderstood as primarily an action flick, which was done for US-marketing reasons only. This film is neither for the multiplex crowd nor for the liberal-slant-seeking rightwing conspiracy theorists. Noticeable is that the rightwing extremist press, (the NYpost and the WSJ) hates this film, what else could they do, since the main villiain is the a-s-s that they kiss, the international banking system. Hence, the title seemingly refers to the IBBC, but ultimately points to global financial infrastructure that has such a firm grip on the world that nothing will change really, about most wars, poverty, hunger and perhaps climate change. It becomes clear that it's not a conscious conspiracy, but more a tangled web where DebT rules the world. The bankers are as caught up in this too, and will all use the definitive cop-out: "If I don't profit from this war, someone else will." That is why, while the scene at the Guggenheim is definitely the eye-candy, the confrontation between Owen and Muehler-Stahl as ex-Stasi colonel, is the most shocking part. Lots of comments here will complain that the film lacked action scenes. But they forget that Tywker is ultimately a European filmmaker: Action is nOt his middle name. It's also beautifully shot with compelling vistas of the Italian coast and the rooftops from Istanbul. Expand
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. ck
    Jun 11, 2009
    7
    Watched it in sections, still good.
  11. HeleenduT
    Jun 6, 2009
    1
    The International is slow (yawn), boring (yawn), the script is flat and only offers disappointment. Naomi Watts's acting is non-existent, Clive Owen's character reminds of drying yourself with a cold damp towel after a shower - painful. The only 1 star that this movie offer is the Architecture and locations. If that's your thing. Spend your money on a book on great The International is slow (yawn), boring (yawn), the script is flat and only offers disappointment. Naomi Watts's acting is non-existent, Clive Owen's character reminds of drying yourself with a cold damp towel after a shower - painful. The only 1 star that this movie offer is the Architecture and locations. If that's your thing. Spend your money on a book on great buildings rather than having to sit through 2 hours of pure agonizing boredom. Expand
  12. 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.
  13. ScottC.
    Mar 9, 2009
    8
    I thought it was a taut, engrossing thriller. The shoot-em-up scene at the Guggenheim was terrific.
  14. NerijusD.
    Mar 9, 2009
    10
    The ultimate thriller What a movie! It has your attention caught from the very first scene of Clive Oven standing in the rain, watching. And pretty soon you get enveloped in the net of shocking mystery and conspiracy the main antagonist - an international bank - produces. First of all, the whole premise of a story is based on real life events and you might even learn from this film about The ultimate thriller What a movie! It has your attention caught from the very first scene of Clive Oven standing in the rain, watching. And pretty soon you get enveloped in the net of shocking mystery and conspiracy the main antagonist - an international bank - produces. First of all, the whole premise of a story is based on real life events and you might even learn from this film about the power these banks have over ordinary individuals, or even whole nations. Secondly, you get to see extremely entertaining spectacles of high-profile assassination and its investigation, followed by the Guggenheim part, which is, without doubt, one of the most memorable, enjoyable and realistic shoot-outs I've ever seen in a movie. Wonderfully orchestrated, brilliantly shot and with breathtaking special effects and stunts! And then there's agent Louis Salinger, who has his own personal vendetta against the bank. After having suffered many painful losses during his previous investigations, he tries to protect Naomi Watts' (She's more beautiful than ever) character and family from the imminent danger of death the case brings while at the same time fully submerging and devoting himself to solve it. A recurring element of tingling in his ears plays wonderfully as it portrays his helplessness. Just as he lay there, on the pavement, watching a friend die with no power to turn the time back and save him, so did at the very last scene of the movie the comprehension of his vain little role trying to stop the grand scheme of endless international affairs dawned on him. You stopped this banker? There are hundreds of others just like him, waiting to take his place. To me this was a perfect ending to an ultimate thriller. Collapse
  15. Lynn
    Mar 9, 2009
    4
    long and slow, sadly not nearly as good as expected.
  16. TDKinDallas
    Feb 25, 2009
    10
    This movie was excellent! I went to the movie expecting it to be crap and was completely surprised. To me the movie was believable, suspenseful and one of the most satisfying movies I have seen lately (Slumdog probably being the last one). Did Premiere magazines Olivia Putnal see a different movie or what? Does anyone check to make sure the critics actually saw the movie because she This movie was excellent! I went to the movie expecting it to be crap and was completely surprised. To me the movie was believable, suspenseful and one of the most satisfying movies I have seen lately (Slumdog probably being the last one). Did Premiere magazines Olivia Putnal see a different movie or what? Does anyone check to make sure the critics actually saw the movie because she obviously did not see this one. Fast-paced car chases??? none All-out gun fights??? one. Expand
  17. LeoN
    Feb 24, 2009
    7
    Good film, very interesting plot but sometimes difficult to follow, definately don't watch this if you're even slightly tired.
  18. ClaudioC
    Feb 24, 2009
    3
    The script is dull and full of clichés like: 'Investigator: Why do you think he is going to cooperate ? Hero: because he is seeking redemption... Wow, that is deep and convincing ! The plot is predictable, no suspense and the only action scene (at the Gugenheim) is a parody were the bad guy joins forces with the good guy against an army of even worse guys.
  19. DanaM.
    Feb 22, 2009
    8
    Don't listen to the negative reviews. This is really a pretty good movie with plenty of action. My wife and I enjoyed it quite a bit. Certainly better than the Bond movies and the acting was quite good overall. Owen does a nice job with his role, and the plot does make you think about the role of big banks in the world. Go see it.
  20. P.McCarthy
    Feb 17, 2009
    10
    Fabulous film...viewer must pay close attention and know a bit about international banking and global arms sales. Better than the Bond films, better than the Bournes. Gorgeous shots of some gorgeous cities.
  21. KimL
    Feb 14, 2009
    7
    International was hell of a lot better than the last Bond movie. At last actions shots that did not make me sick from over cutting and subliminal flashes. Not a movie to rave about but better than average.
  22. 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
  23. 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.
  24. 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
  25. bbarbhy
    Feb 7, 2009
    0
    "Give me a break". Four words I said out-loud constantly throughout this movie.
  26. hojHardon
    Feb 7, 2009
    0
    I'm not taking it easy here. this movie does stink. The acting, directing, writing, editing, and action is all flat. I am so dissapointed. I expected a great movie.
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.