In Columbia Pictures' new gripping thriller The International, Interpol Agent Louis Salinger (Clive Owen) and Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Eleanor Whitman (Naomi Watts) are determined to bring to justice to one of the world's most powerful banks.
Uncovering myriad and reprehensible illegal activities, Salinger and Whitman follow the money from Berlin to Milan to New York to Istanbul. Finding themselves in a high-stakes chase across the globe, their relentless tenacity puts their own lives at risk as their targets will stop at nothing—even murder—to continue financing terror and war.
Clive Owen isn't about to claim that The International is a message movie. "No it's not," he says. "It's a cracking good thriller that happens to be set in the world of international banking. But you could say that's very timely..."
It is indeed. As the world's financial system tries to recover from an unprecedented downturn the ethics and dealings of some of the big players on the money markets have been under intense scrutiny and called into question.
And The International focuses on the shady dealings of a European based bank that is seeking big profits at any cost and is prepared to go to any lengths in order to cover its tracks. "One of the questions that the film does ask is ‘maybe we should think about where our money is and what some of these institutions are doing with our money?' In that sense, the global financial collapse has made our film very topical," Owen explains.
"Salinger, my character, has become single minded in pursuit of this bank to the extent that there really isn't anything else in his life," the actor adds. "He can't sleep, he doesn't eat properly, and he's driven by this desire to bring these people down but in the end he might well have to compromise what he believes in to do it. It's a grey area again and I like that."
Owen admits that he's drawn to a project by one over-riding factor—the director who is attached to it. And in this case, the director was Tom Tykwer, an innovative filmmaker that Owen has long admired from afar.
"I've loved Tom's work," he explains. "From Run, Lola, Run to Heaven and through to Perfume. And to be honest, it used to be the script that I looked for first, but these days it's the director and Tom is one of the best and I jumped at the chance to work with him. Plus the fact that the script was excellent and you can't turn it down. It's as simple as that."
The script, by Eric Singer, was taut and gripping and Owen was reminded of classic thrillers from the '70s like All The Presidents Men and Three Days of the Condor. "I love those films when you have people who are going up against the system and everything is stacked against them. The International reminded me of that in a good way."
Opening soon across the Philippines, The International is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.