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International [Blu-ray] [2009] [US Import]

Clive Owen , Naomi Watts , Tom Tykwer    Blu-ray

Price: £9.49
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.7 out of 5 stars  153 reviews
49 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Movie 10 Jun 2009
By Rexomus - Published on
"The International" is a good and honest movie. Hollywood generally doesn't release movies that are fairly original and intellectually respectful to the audience. The story deals with world bank corruption and how it's not the money that motivates them, but rather the power of enslaving nations and people with debt. If you know anything about the fractional reserve system of current banking, then this movie makes a lot of sense. I am surprised that Hollywood would release a movie like this.

The movie doesn't try to be more then it is. It does, however, take the audience on a journey to explain how the current economic situation could possibly be manipulated. The movie does follow some cliches, but I felt they were handled in original and artistic ways. The Guggenheim scene was very interesting and an original place to stage a Hollywood shootout. The story from start to finish is solid and easy to follow. There were no huge plot twists, however the character resolutions have their complexities and the finale is a little peculiar, but still gratifying and complete.

Clive Owen gives a wonderful and believable performance as a man over the edge and determined to expose the truth of this cloak and dagger organization. Naomi Watts does a good job as a supporting character and doesn't get in the way of the story, but she amplifies it when necessary.

I greatly enjoyed this movie. I skipped seeing it at the theater because it looked a little long, but after watching it on DVD my worries that the plot would be thin were put to rest. The story keeps the flow going and the audience interested the whole time.
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An outstanding Blu 5 Jun 2009
By Steve Kuehl - Published on
Reviews have been quite mixed on the content and quality of this film, but without a doubt this Blu is an excellent piece for the those seeking competent clarity, BD production and special features. The film offers a mixed bag and is understandably panned for the later acts "bogging down" or a confusion as to what kind of film it is trying to be, but in the end - I was impressed by a thoughtful and well preserved product.

The picture is reference quality throughout. The landscapes, architecture, streets, wide overhead pans, rooftop panoramas, and nighttime depth all shined in clarity, aspect and colors. Customers were very impressed with certain scenes that captured the international buildings.

The sound is 5.1 TrueHD, which gets used extensively on the score and singular long shooting sequence, but little else to speak of there (I am a big DTS fan).

The special features are what make this package a five star, even if you rate this film as low as a three.

- An extended scene between our two leads; an eleven minute sequence that orginally ran much less (just prior to the scene where he dunks his head in the ice water).

- A thirty minute making-of that thoroughly covered all aspects of filming. Interestingly, it covered the production in sequence with how the film was released (beginning to end). The next two features should have been included but were separated into:

** a six minute architecture documentary about the locations, and a seven minute addendum about shooting at the Guggenheim (pun intended) that was better covered in the main documentary; it almost felt like a snippet that played on a network or ad plug.

- A five minute insight about filming being allowed for the first time at the Autostadt factory for VW. An impressive place.

- The picture in picture looks pristine but for the amount of dialogue it works better on the second go around. Once again, you have to have your player dialed perfectly for it to work completely. Same with having everything up to date for the Cinechat feature.

As far as the rest of the package goes, the commentary is very similar to what we see in the documentaries, and can be subtitled in Spanish and Portugese. The menu navigates well and contains my favorite of the chapter selection designs. That being where the entire time line is shown on one page complete with pics and time graph.

A worthwhile owner for fans of the film, and an adequate rental for those that are interested in the background and filming locales.
38 of 50 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Solid work from Clive Owen, one great gunfight...and everything else is ho-hum. 14 Feb 2009
By RMurray847 - Published on
THE INTERNATIONAL is a film that wants to be two kinds of movies at once, and somewhat drops the ball on being either very effectively.

This tells the story of an effort by law enforcement officials to bring down The International Bank of Business & Commerce, the IBBC. This bank, we're told right from the start, is involved in weapons trading and many shady deals involving violent overthrows of governments and so forth. They don't really make money off the arms dealing, they make money handling the debt of the newly emerging governments. They are a ruthless bunch, operating like a shadowy intelligence agency...assassinating those who stand in the way, bribing others. There is no way to bring them to justice, it would seem, because they have their fingers in every pie, and will kill anyone who might get in their way.

So first, THE INTERNATIONAL wants to be an "intelligent" thriller, with lots of suspense generated by the political and economic machinations of men in business suits talking in hushed tones. We see the good guys and the bad guys both discussing with each other the ramifications of one course of action or another. There is lots of globetrotting, with scenes in Luxembourg, France, Italy, the US & Turkey. These scenes are only moderately interesting, because in the end, the schemes of the bank are only drawn out in the most simplistic terms (the movie wants us to FEEL that everything is richly detailed and complicated, but it really isn't). AND, most importantly, the actions of the bank don't really feel entirely credible. Not that a financial institution wouldn't align itself with some really bad guys...but the whole thing really just feels like a half-baked Roger Moore-era James Bond kind of plot.

The other half of the movie wants to be an action thriller of the BOURNE ilk. But the action and gunplay and forensic police work is mostly quite staid and uninspired. With one notable exception. There is a fabulously elaborate, visceral and exciting gun battle set in the Guggenheim Museum in NYC. Naturally, it relies on the old standby that all bad guys are terrible shots and good guys seldom miss...but it's a thrilling, old-fashioned sequence that makes the rest of the movie almost worthwhile.

Also worthwhile is the always solid presence of Clive Owen. Here's a guy who can really act, when given the chance. He can be charming, he can be soulless...but he's seldom boring (and he's always vaguely about swarthy). Yet true stardom has eluded him, because the truly best material doesn't go his way...or when something flat-out brilliant like CHILDREN OF MEN lands on his lap, no one goes to see it. Owen is the right man for THE INTERNATIONAL, though. He's capable of handling the talky dialogue. He seems vaguely impatient with all the chatter and politics, and just wants to get on with taking some people DOWN. And when the action does kick in, he's not just an impervious gunslinger...we see real fear and real hurt. We believe that he is a hero who COULD get killed. He brings a humanity to the most "Hollywood" of scenes and he brings movie star glamour to the most mundane of scenes. It's an interesting dichotomy.

Owen is the star of the question. He is in nearly every scene, and director Tom Tykwer likes to give us lots of close-ups. But Owen is assisted by a sold supporting cast, including the always welcome Naomi Watts. Her role is seriously underwritten and probably could have been handled by anyone...but it's nice to see her anyway. The silky-voiced, menacing Armin Muehler-Stahl also shows up as one of the head honchos from the bank. This guy has THAT character down pat, and he's also always welcome.

Tykwer can be a great director (RUN LOLA RUN is a propulsive film in the best possible way)...and the gunfight shows where his true talents lie. He doesn't bring much zest to the talkier scenes, and I hope someone notices this and gives him a more action-packed thriller to helm.

Overall, I enjoyed THE INTERNATIONAL, but for most of its 118 minutes, I was quite aware that what I was seeing was not going to leave much of an impression. It's a solid but seldom exciting movie. It wants to think it has captured the flavor of our times, but it isn't rooted enough in believability. If you like Clive Owen, I'd say it's worth a look. If you're not a particular fan...then there's very little reason to spend time on it. It's a near miss.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Relevant For Our Times. 5 Oct 2011
By Christina Chu - Published on
I think "The International" is a film at the top of my list for our current times. It must have taken about 10 rewinds and replays to really understand what is going on. If you're looking for quick entertainment, this movie is not for you. If you want to understand the dirty dirty business of international political economy and global banks like the IMF in a fictional context this is IT. If you don't have a comprehensive vocabulary of financial jargon, get a dictionary ready and be ready to pause and rewind. Great educational masterpiece.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars includes credits toward any architectural degrees 2 Sep 2011
By Brian Maitland - Published on
The main character of this movie really is the architecture. It imposes itself into the story making the main actors little more than pawns to be moved between fantastically futuristic looking buildings.
The budget to shoot this movie in such locations as the Volkswagon HQ/"theme" park in Wolfsburg, Germany, to the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, Turkey, via Berlin, New York City and Milan must have been blown on flights. I won't give anything away but the Guggenheim scene is unreal but watch the extras on how they did it is even more mindblowing.

Having said all that the acting is terrific from Clive Owen's world weary intensity to Naomi Watts' single mindedness and, unlike mail-it-in Hollywood movies, they don't end up in bed together which makes their working realtionship seem far more real.

The bad guys all seem like fairly normal family men which makes them all the more evil.

The movie sort of falls down a tad on the plot as you wonder how a large bank (it's loosely based on the real BCCI banking scandal) is brought down by just two people. Seems quite implausible no matter how good Watts and Owen are in portraying their roles.

The DVD is worth getting as the extras offer a tour of the architectural delights, the whole Guggenheim scene explained and a 30-min behind-the-scenes makin of as well as the usual commentary track.
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