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The International: An uneasy mix of brains and brawn

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The International is an action flick with smarts, but that's not to say the brain and the brawn always coexist easily. Clive Owen stars as an Interpol agent who, with the help of a New York assistant D.A. (Naomi Watts), tries to bring down a banking institution that's long been involved in illegal activities on a global scale (backing coups, purchasing weapons, that sort of thing). Although loosely based on a real-life scandal, The International adheres more to cinematic conspiracy-theory conventions, thus emerging as a pale shadow of such great works in the same mold as The Parallax View and The Manchurian Candidate. Still, director Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run) keeps the film moving (Run Clive Run would have been an acceptance title, given how much mileage Tykwer gets out of his star), and there's one spectacular (if overlong) shootout at the Guggenheim Museum that's alone worth the admission price.

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