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The International May 8, 2009

Posted by Shujath in English, Movies, Reviews.
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Big Banks controlling the world has been one of the oldest ideas of conspiracy theorists. And pretty much everyone seems to hold that belief albeit at different levels. At this point of time when Banks have become one of the most reviled institutions in the world, Tom Tykwer’s The International is a highly entertaining take on the issue.

The International Bank of Business and Credit (IBBC) is out there to take over the world – for “you control the debt, you control everything”. Investigating its operations are the persistent Interpol agent Louis Salinger (Clive Owen) and DA Elanor Whitman (Naomi Watts). Anybody close to compromising the Bank’s operation ends up dead. When everything seemingly leads to a dead end and all your options are running out what do you do? Well – for starters give Clive Owen a gun and let him handle this in his own way.

The International for most part resembles any well made corporate thriller in the past but unlike other films in this genre this one caters more to a popular audience. Which simply means you shouldn’t start looking for believability and loopholes in the plot. One thing which comes to my mind first is that nobody seems to mind or care as Owen walks around with his gun menacingly in everyday places. Where the film scores the most is through its locations. The urban landscape and the architecture presented here are pretty ominous and spooky – especially the modernist office buildings of the IBBC and the Rotunda Gallery.

Clive Owen and Naomi Watts do what is required of them and honestly a film like this requires star power than memorable performances. I quite enjoyed watching this film and would easily recommend this to everyone – for it is not always that you see a highly engaging film on an important issue while dumbing down to acceptable levels for a wider audience.

Duplicity March 28, 2009

Posted by Sai in English, Movies, Reviews.
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Tony Gilroy’s latest directorial venture is a corporate espionage thriller featuring a romantic entanglement between Julia Roberts and Clive Owen. Like his previous film, Michael Clayton, this one is quite complicated too. Little can be divulged about the plot without give away anything or lying. But the title of the film describes the intent of the characters and the film accurately. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, Duplicity is “contradictory doubleness of thought, speech, or action; especially: the belying of one’s true intentions by deceptive words or action”.

Gilroy, who co-wrote the Bourne movies, is no stranger to thrillers. The premise is intriguing, the dialogue is solid and the screenplay is gripping. Unlike Bourne or Clayton, this film also has its share of lighter moments. The opening scene at the airport hangar sets the tone for the film and is one that stayed with me after.

Julia Roberts and Clive Owen are a treat to watch and the supporting cast is first rate. Paul Giamatti (Sideways, Lady In The Water), in particular, is superb as the unscrupulous CEO who wants to beat his competitor at any cost. Tom Wilkinson (Michael Clayton), in a smaller part, plays his nemesis.

While this film requires you to pay attention and utilize your gray matter, it isn’t the sort of film that makes you ponder. Duplicity is more mainstream than Michael Clayton and should find favor with audiences that enjoy this genre and do not mind a convoluted non-linear narrative.