Day By Day

Friday, February 13, 2009

A Movie to Miss

We went to see Clive Owen and Naomi Watts in "The International" today. "She Who Must Not Be Named" wanted to see Owen, who is one of her favorite actors, and I was at least willing to give it a shot -- I had enjoyed "Run Lola Run", an earlier effort by director Tom Tykwer.

What we saw was a cliched, poorly plotted, left-wing political diatribe. Director Tykwer seems to really, really, really hate bankers [remember how he portrayed the father in "Lola"]. In "The International" he and screenwriter Eric Singer posit a global conspiracy by the directors of the world's "fourth largest bank" [based loosely on BCCI, the Pakistani bank that was embroiled in many scandals about a decade ago] who seek, not money but control, which they hope to achieve by sponsoring third world conflicts, which they expect will generate massive debt, which they will then use to oppress the world's people. No, it doesn't make sense, but we are in left-looney conspiracy land here.

The point is driven home time and again. Western capitalists are evil corruptors. Communists used to be the good guys, but with the fall of the Soviet Union, they have fallen from grace and become tools of the evil capitalists. If there is to be hope for the world it lies with selfless public servants who pursue justice at all costs, with the guilty conscience of former leftists who have abandoned their dreams, with young idealists who reject the cynicism of their elders, and [bizarrely] with the Mafia.

There is plenty of action, including an absurd shootout at the Guggenheim, but it isn't presented coherently. Time and again things grind to a halt while characters spout nonsensical lefty platitudes. The acting is competent, but no better, and there is absolutely no chemistry between the male and female leads. There's a lot of pointless shifting from one exotic locale to another. All the elements of an espionage thriller are there, but they just don't add up to much.

Don't waste your money and precious time on this clunker. Read a good book instead.