International, The

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +3

Content: -3

Clive Owen, Naomi Watts. Directed by Tom Tykwer.

FILM SYNOPSIS: An intricate plot revolves around Interpol Agent Louis Salinger and Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Eleanor Whitman who are determined to bring to justice one of the world's most powerful banks. Uncovering myriad and reprehensible illegal activities, Salinger and Whitman follow the money from Berlin to Milan to New York to Istanbul.

PREVIEW REVIEW: Director Tykwer (Run, Lola, Run), keeps the film moving at an armrest-grabbing pace. Tense, involving, it’s a thinking man’s James Bond-type adventure. Indeed, Mr. Owen would have been perfect for the role of 007. It’s a timely tale, reminding us of the power behind those with the big money. And though the film has much graphic violence and some language, it is in a way, a morality tale. When the leads realize their lives are of no consequence if they pursue justice, they do so anyway. Hopefully, in reality there are those seemingly seeking to correct wrongs in our world dedicated enough to go as far in the name of justice.

I was reminded about how little control we have over our lives, and just how long Hollywood has been addressing that issue. The following comments came from the film, Network, written by Paddy Chayefsky in 1976. His words are even more relevant today.

“You are an old man who thinks in terms of nations and peoples. There are no nations. There are no peoples. There are no Russians. There are no Arabs. There are no Third worlds. There is no West… There is only IBM and ITT and AT&T and Du Pont. Dow. Union Carbide. And Exxon. Those are the nations of the world today…We no longer live in a world of nations and ideologies, Mr. Beale. The world is a college of corporations inexorably determined by the immutable bylaws of business. The world is a business, Mr. Beale.”

Now, I’m not suggesting the writing in The International compares to that of Mr. Chayefsky, and certainly, I don’t like the two misuses of Christ’s name or the excessive violence depicted, but I was pleased with the smart writing and all the elements that came together, from the cinematography to the locales to the score. And the cast is top drawer. Alas, not everyone agreed with my assessment. Upon exiting the screening, a teen girl, maybe seventeen, succinctly told the comment-taking publicist, “It sucked.”

DVD Alternative: The Ipcress File. Michael Caine. From writer Len Deighton’s Harry Palmer series, an unemotional secret agent becomes involved in a detailed caper. Although it suggests some sexual activity, it doesn't bombard your senses with a lot of rough language or sexuality like much of today's cinema, but rather focuses on a great espionage caper.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Sony Pictures

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: None

Obscene Language: Around 20 obscenities, mostly the s-word, but with the occasional f-word.

Profanity: I caught two profane uses of Christ’s name.

Violence: People are done in by dastardly fellows; we see one man poisoned, he vomits (looks real) before he drops dead; two people are hit by cars, a man falls off a building, hitting the pavement (it really looks real), a shootout in a museum leaves several people riddled with bullets, the blood seen oozing out of the bodies; one man is shot in the neck, the blood profusely spiriting from the wound until he dies; other graphic killings. Blood: Lots of blood

Sex: No sex; in fact the female lead is married, her relationship with the male lead is professional; they care for each other as friends and pros, but she is devoted to her family.

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: One sexual comment.

Drugs: None

Other: None

Running Time: 120 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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