THE INTERNATIONAL:

When fleshing out a work of fiction, some novelists will devise a climactic moment and work backwards from that point until they arrive at the beginning of their story. But the primary flaw of Eric Warren Singer’s screenplay about a global banking conglomerate financing small arms sales to third world militias is that its few nifty sequences are surrounded by far too many others that are comatose. This is one of those movies where the plot appears to be so complex that much of the script is heavy on forced dialogue in which the players feel the necessity of explaining everything that is going on. Plus there’s the fact that a storyline about a multinational financial institution supplying modern insurgents with arms is very ‘80s. Characters appear without any real explanation similar to the ones spoofed in “Planet Terror” from GRINDHOUSE (2007). As much as I enjoy watching Clive Owen (CHILDREN OF MEN) shoot it out with screen villains in New York’s Guggenheim Museum, I felt that his Interpol agent character was purposely underdeveloped in order to avoid coming off as a Bourne or 007 clone. That’s ironic since much of this film reminded me of those mid ‘70s paranoid conspiracy flicks where people who got “too close to the truth” all wound up on a slab. Those movies were far more gripping than this one and are still in my head some three decades plus later. Directed by Tom Tykwer (RUN LOLA RUN), THE INTERNATIONAL opens with a promise of an “anything is possible world” but then proceeds to plod along at a snail’s pace until the museum sequence temporarily resuscitates it. After that, it winds up back on life support never to be revived.

CURRENT AND NEW DVDs THAT I RECOMMEND: BURN AFTER READING, THE DARK KNIGHT, THE DUCHESS, FROZEN RIVER, HAMLET 2, LAKEVIEW TERRACE, MAN ON WIRE, NICK & NORAH’S INFINITE PLAYLIST, RELIGULOUS, TROPIC THUNDER, W