I bow at the foot of the cinematic god that is Tom Tykwer. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Mr. Tykwer for directing a slick, cool, intricate, action-packed espionage thriller in which there is no shaky-cam, not one person is suffering from amnesia, and the male and female leads do not have sex with each other! You are a bold, bold man, and my hat is forever off to you. Not only that, you directed the innovative, unforgettable Run, Lola, Run, which cinephiles almost universally admire, and you also helmed the woefully overlooked best serial-killer film of recent years, Perfume. You are a marvel, and we movie mavens are lucky to have you.
Now... reining it in a little: that is not to say The International is a perfect pic, nor is it as "Tykwer-esque" as I would have liked. It's pretty true-blue to the spy thriller genre, with little of the director's unique signature style. Tykwer does, however, bring his already masterful command of chase and fight sequences to an art form (quite literally, especially during a big showdown which takes place at The Guggenheim in Manhattan). Hard-hitting, extravagant, bloody, and quite painful-looking, the scenes of peril may be far-fetched, but the script handles all the issues handily and with welcome intelligence.
The International follows Interpol agent Louis Salinger (Clive Owen) and his confidante, New York Assistant D.A. Eleanor Whitman (Naomi Watts) as they gallop the globe on the trail of shady money-laundering bankers, ruthless mercenaries, soulless assassins and politically-motivated baddies. Owen's accent slips every now and again, and Watts is somewhat underused, but overall, The International is a damned solid action thriller aimed at adult audiences. The locations are absolutely stunning, and the assured cinematography takes its best advantage of them without being overly ostentatious.
The Blu-ray package also includes a standard DVD and a digital copy, and the additional release material boasts BD Exclusive-CineChat, Commentary with Director Tom Tykwer and Writer Eric Singer, 'Salinger & Whitman – Extended Scene,' 'Making The International,' and 'The Architecture of The International.'
For Fans Of: Croupier, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, Haywire
Why We Like It: stunning locations, excellent action set pieces, a script that defies genre conventions