Pixel Tracker

Sunday, November 18 , 2018, 9:43 am | Fair with Haze 60º


Cinema In Focus: ‘The International’

Murderous bankers and governments who look the other way lead this intriguing new film.

2 Stars — Disturbing

It is hard to make bankers world-class villains. Even though there is a lot of frustration with the mortgage crisis, very few of us think that a bank and its officers are into world domination. Instead, we simply recognize that greed has once more undermined the economic stability that commercial lending is meant to provide. However, in the fictional world of the International Bank of Business & Commerce we find murderous bankers and complicit governments. Written by Eric Singer and directed by Tom Tykwer, The International is the story of this domination.

The unlikely hero fighting against such dominion is Louis Salinger (Clive Owen), an Interpol investigator who has partnered with Manhattan District Attorney Eleanor Whitman (Naomi Watts) to solve irregularities and murderous cover-ups by the bank. Having had his wife and children murdered when he got too close to exposing the bank when he was an officer for Scotland Yard, Salinger is obsessed with bringing the bank and its officers to justice.

The villain and bank president, Jonas Skarssen (Ulrich Thomsen), is an amoral utilitarian who has created an international web of businesses, governments and intelligence agencies who all support his plan. With everyone tacitly involved, the bank operates with immunity, including assassinating anyone who will not do business with them.

The ultimate example of this is Umberto Calvini (Luca Barbareschi), an arms dealer who will not do business with IBBC. Believing that his sons will reverse that decision, the bank hires an assassin to kill him. Enigmatically named “The Consultant” (Bryan F. O’Byrne), Salinger hopes the assassin provides the missing connection through whom he can hold the bank accountable.

We won’t tell how all the intrigue unexpectedly ends, or the ironic presentation at the end of the film during the credits, but it is obvious there are those who believe that business is, or at least could be, corrupt. It is this distrust that causes the artists to create a film like this. But when the plot goes beyond reasonable belief, it does little to help us determine the real accountability that real banks need. That would be a film worth seeing!


» Did you find the argument that a bank would get into revolutions only to own the debt believable? Why or why not?

» The newspaper articles displayed during the credits imply just what Skarssen said — if he were to be killed another banker would take his place and the bank would go on with its evil scheme. Do you believe that would be true in real life?

» Why do you think this assassin was willing to kill? Do you think his leg handicap had anything to do with it, was he sociopathic, or do you think it was just another example of greed where he was willing to kill for money?

Cinema in Focus is a social and spiritual movie commentary. Hal Conklin is former mayor of Santa Barbara and Denny Wayman is pastor of Free Methodist Church on the Mesa. For more reviews, visit www.cinemainfocus.com.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >