28 February 2009

Bank-Catcher in the...Sigh

I'm really glad that Clive was in The International because otherwise, I really don't think I'd have enjoyed it in the slightest. Well, that's not quite true but the whole film was decidedly meh--and I don't generally give overly harsh reviews--even taking into account the fact that I got to see Clive running around, talking gruffly, for two hours, I still only gave it 6/10, which is pretty bad coming from me, given that I am entertained by most thrillers I see. 

Clive is Louis Salinger, an Interpol agent on the trail of Some Eavil Peeps in charge of a Very Eavil Bank Which Runs the Whole World. He has a bit of a "past" in that when he was last "hot" on the trail, the Eavil Bankers (who have control over police chiefs and governments and Interpol, and the like) made sure that he was discredited and the case went away. He's working on the case with Eleanor Whitman (I'm not sure why there are all these literary-themed names; actually, I'm sure it's a coincidence because this film is really not clever enough to hide some deep meanings inside the surnames of the leads), the Manhattan DA who is also somehow involved. Because Eleanor is played by Naomi Watts, it's unclear why there isn't the least bit of sexual tension between her and Clive--possibly because other than a brief scene at 3 a.m. where we see Eleanor's hubby and small person trying to tempt her away from her CrackBerry and into bed, neither Eleanor nor Holden Caulfield--I mean, Louis Salinger--have much in the way of a life or personality outside their shared desire to Take Down This Damn Bank.

So, they skip through various scenic Italian locations with a little bit of shooting every once in a while, for good measure, culminating in the big shoot-out scene from the trailer, which takes place in New York's Guggenheim Museum. The climax (such as it can be called that) doesn't need to take place within the concentric, circular, spiralled atrium of the museum so clearly, the director just thought, "wouldn't it be cool if we had a shoot-out in the Guggenheim where people have to move downwards through the spiral, potentially past the people who are trying to shoot them, in order to get out?" 

Also, in the trailer, you can see a woman with long blonde hair in this scene, from behind, whom I assumed to be Eleanor, although she isn't present during this scene so it can't be her unless there was some sloppy editing. To be fair, though, I wasn't at all clear who Naomi's character was from the trailer. I thought she was the wife of one of the Bad Bankers, or someone, whom Clive had sworn to protect (along with her small people). Given that her role is almost completely superfluous in the movie itself, this isn't too big a deal.

There were some random interjections of levity in the script too, which led to bathos at the very part when they should have been working on the suspense. Suffice to say, I didn't find it overly amusing when Clive and co. burst in on the apartment of a stoned, orthopaedic surgeon, who was convinced they were going to arrest him for being on drugs, when really they just wanted access to his patient records. Clive had some quality lines, though. Some of my favourites?

Bad Guy: What do you want?
Clive: I want some f*cking justice.

Dude: [makes dying noises while spurting blood]
Clive: Don't f*cking die on me.
Dude: [Sez something incomprehensible and then dies.]

Bad Guy: You can't arrest me [mwahahaha]
Clive: Who said anything about arresting? I'm simply going to talk in this gruff, Coventry voice and then wait for my ambiguous moral dilemmas to be solved by deus ex machina. By the way, given that this Turkish rooftop scene is pretty similar to the opening scene in Casino Royale, I'm hoping it will also serve as my audition for the Bond films if Daniel Craig ever steps down.

You get the idea. Luckily, even with a load of shit dialogue, Clive's delivery more than made up for it. Other than that, though, the plot managed to be both overly complicated and really insipid at the same time, there was no sense of development of any of the characters, half of the characters were superfluous and the ending was unsatisfying--not in a good way.

But I did get to watch Clive for two hours!

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