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The International (2009)



Average Rating: 5.8/10
Reviews Counted: 202
Fresh: 120 | Rotten: 82

The International boasts some electric action sequences and picturesque locales, but is undone by its preposterous plot.


Average Rating: 5.5/10
Critic Reviews: 47
Fresh: 26 | Rotten: 21

The International boasts some electric action sequences and picturesque locales, but is undone by its preposterous plot.



liked it
Average Rating: 3/5
User Ratings: 165,055

My Rating

Movie Info

Clive Owen and Naomi Watts star in Run Lola Run director Tom Tykwer's action thriller concerning an ambitious Interpol agent who targets corruption at the top levels of the world's largest banking institutions. The world's most powerful banks have become hopelessly corrupt, prompting Interpol agent Louis Salinger (Owen) and Manhattan assistant district attorney Eleanor Whitman (Watts) to follow a dangerous money trail from Berlin to Milan to New York and Istanbul. But as determined as Agent


Mystery & Suspense, Drama

Eric Warren Singer

Jun 9, 2009


Sony Pictures/Columbia - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (205) | Top Critics (47) | Fresh (120) | Rotten (82) | DVD (16)

The International is strewn with wild improbability, but that hardly deters from its appeal.

March 6, 2009 Full Review Source:
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Eventually, you just let the tangled double-crossing take care of itself and enjoy the way the film defiantly bucks the contemporary thriller trend for shaky-cam coverage and lightning cuts.

February 27, 2009 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Killer banks may be new to the movies, but there's nothing else original in this if-it's-Tuesday-this-must-be-Istanbul thriller, with its portentous globe-hopping and racing through colorful street bazaars.

February 23, 2009 Full Review Source: New Yorker
New Yorker
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A sleek conspiracy thriller from German director Tom Tykwer.

February 17, 2009 Full Review Source: At the Movies
At the Movies
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A slow road to nowhere, less clunky than The Interpreter but bogged down by its own cynicism.

February 17, 2009 Full Review Source: New York Magazine | Comment (1)
New York Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

I was really disappointed.

February 17, 2009 Full Review Source: At the Movies
At the Movies
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Take away the Guggenheim shootout and we've at least got Clive Owen at half throttle. Take away Owen and there's nothing left but the tired old mystic cabal of sadistic sorcerers.

August 16, 2011 Full Review Source: East Bay Express
East Bay Express exceptional thriller that's consistently elevated by the uniformly superb performances and Tom Tykwer's subdued yet stylish directorial choices.

March 5, 2010 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

A thankfully, skillfully mature effort by Tykwer to produce a proper thriller for adults, one even lent a little extra resonance by our currently cash-strapped times.

December 17, 2009 Full Review Source: Cinematical

Think of it as the cinematic equivalent of a chunky paperback thriller that gets you through a week-long holiday.

September 18, 2009 Full Review Source: Florida Times-Union
Florida Times-Union

It's not a bad thriller, but it's dispiriting to see the gifted Tykwer doing the Ridley Scott fandango

August 26, 2009 Full Review Source: CinePassion | Comments (2)

The International packs handsome leads and exotic scenery - so why doesn't the film click with audiences like it should?

July 16, 2009 Full Review Source: What Would Toto Watch?
What Would Toto Watch?

Tykwer demonstra conhecer as convenções básicas do gênero espionagem ao trazer uma atmosfera de intriga internacional à narrativa.

June 20, 2009 Full Review Source: Cinema em Cena | Comments (2)
Cinema em Cena

[Plays] itself as a mystery/thriller with something profound to say at the end, when we've pretty much heard a lot of this already.

June 16, 2009 Full Review Source: Window to the Movies | Comments (3)
Window to the Movies

Naomi and Clive burrow into the swanky sewage of global conspiracies by capitalist assassins and devious suits, in league with diversifying mobsters worldwide. Sobering details effectively spiced up, and with leading man libidos firmly in check.

June 5, 2009 Full Review Source: NewsBlaze

See it for Owen's trademarked thinking cap and glower, the Guggenheim, the score, and the smugness of knowing first-hand that banks are actually much, much stupider than any movie could ever predict. Check it out, it's a fun time.

May 31, 2009 Full Review Source: Cinerina

As far as stimulus packages go, The International fizzles.

April 23, 2009 Full Review Source: Boston Phoenix
Boston Phoenix

It's helpful to keep in mind that any movie about the evils of corporate culture that's backed by a Hollywood studio has an inescapable identity crisis.

April 7, 2009 Full Review Source: Paste Magazine
Paste Magazine

Emfanos aposteiromenos gia to proto toy taksidi sto Hollywood, o Tom Tykwer afinei ton Frank Griebe, ton fotografo toy ap' tin epohi toy Trekse, Lola, Trekse (1998), na bgalei oli ti doyleia

March 22, 2009 Full Review Source: Movies for the Masses
Movies for the Masses

A world-weary Clive Owen takes on a powerful and corrupt bank in a tough but ultimately tedious - game of cat and mouse that ranges across Europe and North America

March 21, 2009 Full Review Source: Screenwize

...all the excitement of a corporate report combined with the liveliness of a stuffed animal.

March 18, 2009 | Comment (1)

If you're going to make a movie about homicidal bankers, you don't get extra dividends for exaggerated body counts.

March 16, 2009 Full Review Source:

The film offers a classic example of a screenwriter boxing himself in a narrative corner from which there is no escape.

March 13, 2009 Full Review Source: Critic's Notebook
Critic's Notebook

Tom Tykwer's thriller shrewdly introduces Lou (Clive Owen) as he observes rather than acts.

March 8, 2009 Full Review Source: PopMatters

The International is being presented as a "thriller for our times", but it's too far-fetched to be relevant. Still, it's an enjoyable yarn.

March 6, 2009 Full Review Source: Sunday Times (UK)
Sunday Times (UK)

Audience Reviews for The International

April 13, 2014
Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

It's rather suspenseful, and the shootout in the Guggenheim is remarkable, but the master conspiracy in this film is almost too big to swallow - it smells a little bit like last-minute pandering in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis - and there a few too many contrivances that keep the story moving (chance meetings with suspects, a driver who for some reason tries to run over Naomi Watts BUT NOT her partner Clive Owen, etc.). Watts's character has a husband and son, too, which leads to Owen eventually hinting to Watts that she should get out of the chase, and while reasonable, for some reason this scene really bothered me. She, like Owen, knew what she signed up for, but she was dumped from the plot and given short shrift in the end, a one-line kiss-off over which the final credits were running. It makes me think that adding her - the only female character, come to think of it - was a studio executive's insertion for audience reasons... a second hint at last-minute changes. This is wild speculation, but I just found something off about this movie, like it was either a lazy Bond/Bourne rip-off that was scooped up and edited for its financially opportune moment or a really smart political thriller that was watered down for the masses. There were great parts, but as a whole the movie never fully committed to the size of its ambition, and as a result the pieces just didn't hang together. Great shootout, though; for better or for worse, it was really easy to lose the plot after a scene that enthralling.
January 5, 2014

Super Reviewer

An Interpol agent and an NYC District Attorney investigate mob-like dealings by an international bank.
Sometimes one's best assets are one's greatest weakness. The International implies that banks benefit from political corruption and turmoil, and thus, this particular "evil bank" fans the flames of countries' internal strife and even involves themselves in arms trafficking. To foment the flames of discord so widely, the bank has to be huge, and representatives of the bank make this point in the film. But in order to satisfactorily end the film, the bank either has to win or be completely defeated, and since the point all along was about the bank's far-reaching effects, the latter option doesn't work within the film's construct. Without giving away the ending, neither happens, so the ending isn't satisfying; it leaves the audience hanging in the balance, trying to walk a kind of middle road. I like the fact that the film chose a system and a systemic problem as its villain - this is the film's strength - but this strength leads to the film's inability to end well.
Also, I didn't understand Clive Owen's character. We get a little background, but this man is obsessed with this case, and we're never privy to why. What personally drives him to solve this case? Is he always this crazed and intense? His behavior is often irrationally angry, and more backstory - one that avoids cliche - would have been welcome.
The shoot-out at the Guggenheim was well-choreographed on the positive side.
Overall, the idea behind The International - choosing a systemic villain - is a good one, but it ultimately leads to the film's collapse.
August 8, 2012
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

    1. Louis Salinger: Sometimes you find your destiny on the road you took to avoid it.
    – Submitted by Nusfish K (2 years ago)
View all quotes (1)

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