In “The International,” Clive Owen plays Louis Salinger, an Interpol agent who has been trying to build a case against one of the largest banks in the world. In the movie theater, I played the part of an unimpressed patron. That’s because, with the exception of one scene in the Guggenheim, “The International” didn’t really do anything at all.
The bulk of the film is spent chasing Salinger around as he tries to catch the bank red-handed, despite the fact that he’s already done it once before and failed, and the notion that this bank will kill anyone to keep them from testifying. Salinger is assisted by Eleanor Whitman, Naomi Watts, an almost intangible and insignificant assistant defense attorney who sort of fades in and out during the movie.
What really made this movie hard to engage with was the bank itself. What they’re doing or how they’re doing it is never really explained, nor is why a few businessman feel the need to mettle with international affairs at their own cost just so a third world dictator would owe them a favor. The bank officials also seem to be indecisive when it comes to the scope of their power. How they can inject a man with cyanide in broad daylight without being seen, and then have trouble noticing the man who’s been trying to stop them walking only a few steps behind them in a private building.
When it came down to it, “The International” just couldn’t seem to settle on a storyline until the last fifth of the movie. The only two redeeming qualities were Owen’s portrayal of the character and a rather spectacular fight scene that takes place in an art museum.