I did not, in the end, hunt down and brutally brutalise director Tom Twyker for the crimes he perpetrated on unsuspecting audiences with the ludicrously stupid Perfume. Unfortunately, the old axiom of evil triumphing when good men do nothing has proven itself again, as while his latest potboiler is nothing approaching the insult hurled at us by that previous mess, it's really rather boring indeed.
Interpol agent Louis Salinger (Clive Owen) and New York prosecutor Eleanor Whitman (Naomi Watts) are desperately trying to collate enough evidence to take on the shifty Bank of Evil, which might have had a real name at one point but damned if I can remember it now. Bank of Evil seems more appropriate anyway, their profits apparently coming entirely from selling arms to small nations and then seeking to leverage their debt to control through the much the sort of Grade A financial wrangling that's got the world economy into the current mess it's in.
It would be difficult to do this sort of thing without making a few enemies along the way, and that's when the Bank of Evil would call in The Consultant (Brian F. O'Byrne) to punctuate their labyrinthine plots, intrigues and general Machiavellian back-stabbing with some good old fashioned assassination. The pursuit of evidence for the Bank's wrongdoing soon becomes irrevocably intertwined with the pursuit of this dangerous hitman, which is really starting to make the film sound a lot more interesting than it really is.
While I have no real issue with the direction or the performances, this film does appear to reduce to an awful lot of tedious grunt work on the investigation leading to a, frankly, ludicrous action set-piece completely at odds with both the tone of the rest of the film and everything we had previously been told about the operations of the Bank of Evil.
Its wad spooged, there's nowhere left for the film to go as it flops around looking for something approaching closure. The International isn't a film that ends. It peters out, then stops, then looks vaguely apologetically at you as you gather your belongings together and leave.
I shan't labour the point too much, because I've seen far worse films and it's at least competent and workmanlike with some interesting visuals and framing. However, it's proving every bit as boring to write about as it was watching it, so just as I have far more interesting things to do with my life than continue to do so there are far more interesting films out there for you to spend your time and money on.
Were I in the business of passing quantifiable judgements, I'd award this 2/5 TippyMarks.
Naomi Watts (Eleanor Whitman)
Armin Mueller-Stahl (Wilhelm Wexler)
Ulrich Thomsen (Jonas Skarssen)
Brian F. O'Byrne (The Consultant)