Deborah Ross

Banking on greed

The International<br /> 15, Nationwide The Class<br /> 15, Key Cities

The International
15, Nationwide

The Class
15, Key Cities

The International is a big-budget action-espionage thriller starring Clive Owen as an Interpol agent determined to bring down a nasty bank called IBBC. Aside from doing the usual evil things banks do — like, I assume, having only one person behind the counter during the busiest times — it also runs brisk sidelines in arms trafficking, murder, supporting terrorism and promoting conflicts so as to profit from the debt it creates. (And you wonder why there is only ever one person behind the counter!) The bank’s ultimate aim is to make us all slaves to debt, which is a worry. I am a slave to debt already and, I’m telling you, it’s no joke. I have to get its slippers, run its bath, toil in its fields and, although I have yet to be raped, I certainly lock my door at night and put a chair up against it. Seriously, if debt is ever abolished it is going to have a lot of apologising to do.

Now, I’d like to say that, being all about corporate greed, this is a timely film, and so I will: this is a timely film. But is it any good? Does it take its premise and run with it in an interesting or imaginative way? That’s a tricky one, or would be if the answer were not a simple ‘no’. The premise might be timely, but the execution is same old, same old: car chases, street chases, obvious baddies who are thin and Continental, laborious set-pieces — in this instance, a shoot-out in the Guggenheim Museum that seems to go on for ever — and all laced with woeful dialogue. Or, as Owen puts it at one point: ‘Sometimes, a man can meet his destiny on the road he took to avoid it.’

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