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Sunday, 31 May 2009

The Thin White Dude's Reviews - The International

Yeah, folks, The Thin White Dude has actually decided to not be lazy (was going to say get off my ass, but I'm still doing that) and actually kick off once again The Thin White Dude's Reviews, after a month's leave. Hey, I spent a good bit on the Best and Worst, and I have been working alot, but that's another story for another time. Digressions aside, the story/topic of this review is the newly released conspiracy thriller The International. Directed by internationally acclaimed director Tom Tykwer and starring Clive Owen, this is the kind of film which inevitably draws comparisons of Bond and Bourne. Which truthfully, is a statement which effectively damns the movie, but we'll get there. Anyway, the story goes that Clive Owen's character and Naomi Watts are British and American investigators respectively, investigating the corruption on the inside of a banking firm. To take with the usual procedure and open up with the good things about the film, as usual per each of his films, Clive Owen is great in his performance as Louis Salinger. This is the kind of brassed-off edgy kind of character of which we have seen Owen play before, and it is pretty clear from this film, if not others that he is rather adept at doing this. Also, the cinematography is rather good in the film. Really, the film would not be fathomable by a Hollywood studio if it did not show off some rather picturesque visuals in a film which is supposed to be about an agent travelling around the world. Also, the film is edited rather well, so that from a technical standpoint, alongside the cinematography, the film looks rather slick and unlike the Bourne and Bond films, has not been lambasted with the old shaky-camera syndrome. However, there are a few other little trademark syndromes of which this film has unfortunately inherited. For example, Naomi Watts and Armin-Mueller Stahl are both perfectly capable actors who are essentially lambasted with poor cliched excuses of characters. Also, it must be mentioned that the script is a rather unfortunate work. Clearly, the film is trying to be intelligent and in the vein of Bourne and Bond, perhaps even spur off a franchise, but the problem with this is that while simultaneously attempting to be intelligent, it tries to appeal to action film fanatics by chucking in a couple of action scenes every now and again (marquee poster shows Clive Owen wielding an Uzi). The main problem with this film is that unfortunately the film-makers are attempting to tick all the boxes neccessary, but fail in pulling off a task which many find terribly hard to pull off. Conspiracy: check. Action: check. Brassed-off lead: check. In trying to be the jack of all trades, the film fails to elaborate on any of them, forever effectively condemning it to forgotten cinema history. Which is also a shame for Tom Tykwer. This is quite obviously his attempt to break out from the art-house and head into the international market. This is rather hard for foreign directors to do, I mean Ang Lee didn't exactly do well with his attempt with Hulk. Arguably, his best work has come after his failure. Perhaps after directing this mess of a film which truth be told was quite boring amd underwhelming, Tykwer will learn from his mistakes and go back to making good films. Really, I do deem it completely neccessary, because this is a film that really could have had all the right ingredients to a very good conspiracy thriller, actioner or even character study. It fails in all these categories because, one, we have seen all of this plot in other films, it doesn't have enough action to be called a straight action film and finally Clive Owen's character is not elaborated enough in the script so as to give him some internal depth. Granted, there is a rather funny moment in the film, but even that has been taken from another film. This is one of my shorter reviews for the simple reason that all this film has to prove is that Tykwer needs to go back to directing inventive films, that Clive Owen needs a film to prove his obvious talents and that every now and again, Hollywood churns out films which aren't of any noteworthy praise or criticism whatsoever and just plain underwhelming.

The Thin White Dude's Reviews - 4.8/10

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