Page 18 THE VILLADOM TIMES I, II, III & IV • February 25, 2009 Nefarious bank is villain in ‘The International’ by Dennis Seuling “The International” is a smart-looking film with a taut script and top performances, and it jumps from one worldwide locale to another with breathtaking speed. This film is also one adults can enjoy after the cinema doldrums of January and early February. Interpol agent Louis Salinger (Clive Owen) and Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Eleanor Whitman (Naomi Watts) are investigating an international bank, headquartered in Luxembourg, that is involved in a catalogue of illegal activities ranging from money laundering and arms trading to the backing of coups in unstable Third World countries. Anyone who knows too much about the bank’s operations and any law enforcement officer who gets close to digging up proof of the bank’s clandestine activities are quickly eliminated by the bank’s highly trained, lethal hit team. This is the rare movie in which an entity, rather than an individual or individuals, is the primary villain. In a climate when banks are not held in particularly high esteem, the notion that a powerful bank has tentacles that reach to the highest levels of government and law enforcement, despotic world leaders, and even the families of its enemies, is particularly unsettling. Eric Warren Singer’s script makes this concept believable. There are, of course, agents of the entity (Ulrich Thomsen, Brian F. O’Byrne, Armin Mueller-Stahl), who are a formidable collective force to reckon with. From the opening scene -- when a field agent dies suddenly in a public street -- to a cat-and-mouse chase from country to country, “The International” moves swiftly, establishing its good guys and suave, businessman bad guys along the way. The movie has its twists and turns, which keep things interesting, and Tom Tykwer’s direction uses foreign cities as elaborate backdrops for the action, which abounds. The editing skill he exhibited in “Run, Lola, Run” is once again evident in this gripping thriller. Owen’s Salinger is an amalgam of James Bond, Jason Bourne, and Dirty Harry. He is amazingly adept at physical action and often seems impervious to flying bullets and hit men who turn up around every corner. Watts never fully convinces as an Assistant DA who is on a deadline to make an arrest before her superiors close down her investigation. She is too young, and her collaboration with Salinger is not really clear, other than to pair them and place Assistant DA Eleanor Whitman (Naomi Watts) and Interpol agent Louis Salinger (Clive Owen) team up to bring down a bank engaged in illegal activities in ‘The International.’ �� ����������������� ��������� Authentic Cuisine from Spain ����������������� OPEN 7 DAYS • LUNCH • DINNER • COCKTAILS ������������ Available Sunday thru Thursday Noon-10pm, Friday until 5:30pm � (Served with Spanish Potatoes) Choice of Appetizer Soup or Salad • Entree �� �� ���������� ������ No Substitutions • Both Parties Must Order From This Menu Open 7 Days a Week • Mon-Thurs 11:30-10, Fri 11:30-11, Sat 12-11, Sun 12-10 ������������������������������������������ them in side-by-side danger. There are two supporting performances that really stand out. Jack McGee and Felix Solis play two New York City detectives assigned to assist Salinger. These two fine character actors are perfect and totally believable. Neither has movie star looks, but both are excellent, natural actors who get into the skin of their characters effortlessly. McGee is especially good with a tossed line. Solis has terrific reaction shots. These two performances, coming about halfway through the film, enhance the story’s credibility. There are several set pieces worth noting, including an assassination in a crowded Italian plaza, a man chasing a car on foot, and assorted murders along the way, but nothing compares to a dazzlingly filmed shoot-out in Manhattan’s Guggenheim Museum. This sequence will long be remembered after the film fades. Alfred Hitchcock would have admired it. Hitch tackled monuments and famous locales, notably the Statue of Liberty (“Saboteur”), Mount Rushmore (“North by Northwest”), and Monte Carlo (“To Catch a Thief”). The Guggenheim sequence in “The International” is spectacularly staged. A key meeting at a climactic point in the film is to take place at the museum, and Salinger and his New York team are about to close in when the art repository turns into a shooting gallery, with good guys, bad guys, and unknown guys with automatic weapons running up and down the museum’s famous ramps as art patrons cringe, bullets fly, art is defaced, and blood splatters. This is one of the best action sequences I have seen in a movie in some time. Rated R for scenes of violence and adult language, “The International” is a highly entertaining film in which a small team of good guys attempts to slay an evil Goliath. #1 German Restaurant in Bergen & Passaic Counties! TAKE TIME OUT FOR LUNCH NEW KIRKERS Don’t Cook Tonight! Dine out at one of the fine restaurants advertised in The Villadom TIMES. 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