Sunday, June 14, 2009

The International by Tom Tykwer

The film doesn't break any new ground in action sequences, but is somewhat remarkable because this is the first time I have seen a big-budget studio film have a character utter the word "Communism" in a respectful and almost wishful tone.

And though the Guggeneheim sequence is painstakingly constructed, it is still a gimmick rather than a cinematic flourish.

I generally like films which depict the tragic and cold ruthlessness of big money, as if showing the dirty Kobayashi base of an exquisite bone-china cup. And such films are better if they contain as little action as possible. For example, Michael Clayton, or Syriana, or Traffic.

This film is a middling venture veering midway between being a critique of globalization and capitalism and being a crowd-pleasing action film (complete with Blackberry product placement, product placement being the last thing one expects in a film criticizing the corruption of big business).

A film should know where it stands. Eastern Promises was an unabashed exercise in style, We Own the Night was a character drama, The Bourne Ultimatum a whirlwind ride through masterful action sequences.

I enjoyed many technically superlative (though conventionally so) compositions in the film, and this film can be a good study in lighting of faces and objects.

And I have to say that I appreciate the pessimistic (and hence realistic) end of Syriana, Traffic or of this film.

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