The International

January 9, 2010 - Clive Owen bets he can break a bank in this 2009 thriller. The international cast also includes Naomi Watts, Brian O'Byrne and Armin Mueller-Stahl.

Owen plays Louis Salinger, an Interpol agent obsessed with bringing down the Luxembourg-based International Bank of Business and Credit. Watts is Eleanor Whitman, a prosecutor with the DA's office in New York City. She's been working with Salinger on the case for a couple of years because IBBC has a major branch in NYC. Whitman and Salinger suspect that IBBC is funneling arms to terrorists but proving it proves to be difficult and dangerous.

Overall review: ** Worth a look, I think, especially in light of the recent worldwide financial crisis involving banks deemed "too big to fail." Not that these banks are brokering arms deals (at least not that I know of), but the plot rings true in terms of how difficult it is to reform these giant institutions.

The film clocks in at a little more than two hours. It includes one extensive and bloody gun battle in the Guggenheim and three or four chases in various cities around the world. The fact that the chases involve varying foot speeds instead of vehicles is an interesting and refreshing departure from formula.

The movie loses points, however, on a couple of fronts. First, the DA's office apparently does not bat an eyelash when Whitman jets off to Berlin or Milan to track down leads. I guess money is not an object. And second, Whitman must also have the best husband in the world. He shows up just long enough to put their young son to bed while mommy makes important phone calls at 3 a.m. After that, he's never seen, heard from or referred to again - not even when Whitman is hit by a fleeing driver. You'd think she would have at least called him to let him know she was OK.