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Movie Review: The International

Alternate Title: Kill All the Bankers

Story: Sadly, this film had all of the ingredients to be a well made international thriller but it never takes hold. It had fabulous locations, a fine cast but the story had no focus and much of it was incomprehensible. As they say - there was simply no there, there. Director Tom Tykwer (Run, Lola, Run) knows how to make a stylish thriller but he lost his way. Perhaps much of writer Eric Warren Singer's film ended up on the cutting room floor. Who knows?

It seems that the big bad international bank (International Bank of Business and Credit) got enormously rich by laundering money for organized crime and terrorist groups. Now they want to broker arms deals and control lots and lots of debt (or something like that). Our disheveled hero, Louis Salinger has been chasing these banker crooks for two years and he teams up in a cockamamie unexplained way with an Asst. DA out of NYC, Eleanor Whitman. They run, they take trains, cars, cabs and planes to try to outwit, outlast and capture these bad guys. People are dying left and right and assassins are rampant. There is an omnipresent depressing quality to the film as we discover how many people are wrapped in the tentacles of this bank.

The best scene takes place in a recreated NYC's Guggenheim Museum (recreated in an abandoned railway roundhouse in Berlin). The shootout is almost 15 minutes long and was vastly entertaining, not at all believable and great performance art.

Bottom line is this film could also have been called: Actors in Search of a Plot.

Watch the trailer but keep in mind that some of this action ended up on the cutting room floor: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ILj3HlaoOCg

Acting: Clive Owen as the disheveled Interpol agent is always fun to watch whether he is in a bad film or a good one. Naomi Watts as the NYC DA could have been replaced by any Jane Doe. Her talents were wasted. Armin Mueller-Stahl always plays an excellent bad guy and Brían F. O'Byrne as the assassin was okay.

Trivia: In the original theater production of "Closer" Clive Owen played the character Dan. In the film version he played the other prominent male character, Larry, while Dan was played by Jude Law. He only got the the role of King Arthur after Russell Crowe, Mel Gibson and Hugh Jackman turned it down and after producer Jerry Bruckheimer vetoed the director's choice of a then comparatively unknown Daniel Craig. Naomi Watts is best friends with Nicole Kidman, since a casting call for commercial when they were girls. She has a Yorkshire terrier named Bob.

Predilection: I like thrillers but this was not very thrilling.

Critters: None

Food: I can't remember. I saw this over a week ago.

Sex Spectrum: No sex - too much running.

Blatant Product Placement: In an ironic product placement the logo of Citibank was seen.

Opening Titles: An exciting teaser of an opening.

Visual Art: Milan, Turkey, Berlin, NYC all look mighty fine.

Theater Audience: Five guys and me.

Weather: It was inclement enough for our hero to always wear a raincoat.

Drift Factor: I looked at my watch often.

Predictability Level: Moderate to did not care.

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: No

Big Screen or Rental: Rental would be fine.

Length: Two hours.

LOBO HOWLS: 5