The International

Year: 2009
Studio: Columbia
Director: Tom Twyker
Writer: Eric Warren Singer
Cast: Clive Owen, Naomi Watts, Armin Mueller-Stahl

Clive Owen somehow managed to do two spy movies in one hit, this film and Duplicity. But where that film was a fun, flirty faux-comedy, this film is a more violent and dour, a corporate conspiracy movie dressed up as a thriller instead of a sexy heist movie dressed up as one.

Owen is an Interpol agent who bristles at the bureaucracy after watching his partner die at the scene of a secret meeting. A former executive with a global bank wanted to come clean about small arm deals but right after the meeting an assassin strikes, making it look like an accident until Louis (Owen) looks at the body and find evidence he was poisoned by a long-gone passerby.

He teams up with a US Department of Justice prosecutor (Watts) to get to the bottom of the mystery as the shadowy bank sends faceless hitmen after everyone involved. Eventually, Louis has to do it (cue heavy-lidded stare) 'his way', alluding to a past that's been hinted at throughout the film.

Perfume director Twyker has made a fairly entertaining thriller, although most of it pales in comparison to the standout Guggenheim museum gunfight.

Watts' role is completely superfluous, serving only as exposition the hero could have found out himself. They no doubt decided they needed a pretty female face for 'human' appeal. Owen just stares balefully, the same way he did in Duplicity. The difference is in that movie, he had a much better support cast and story around him, and it made for a much better film.

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