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THE INTERNATIONAL

About The Film
"The International is about two people who attempt to overcome forces much bigger than they are,” says producer Charles Roven. "We're all pawns in the world of big corporations and our destinies are being tugged and pulled by their plans for us. But the film shows us that no matter how insignificant we may feel, we as individuals can make a difference.”  In the film, Interpol agent Louis Salinger (Clive Owen) and Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Eleanor Whitman (Naomi Watts) are driven by the pursuit of justice to take down the most powerful foe imaginable: an international bank with financial and political tentacles that reach into the world's houses of government. Though their task seems impossible, they are determined to take down the bank, which has proven it will stop at nothing, even murder, to advance its own interests.

If the story seems ripped from the headlines, says director Tom Tykwer, it's because the headlines have shown that the banks do control all aspects of our lives. "The mess we're in now started when the banks took advantage of people and encouraged them to live way beyond their means,” he says. "The banks' decisions had far-reaching effects – our houses are at risk, our jobs are at risk, ultimately the entire quality of our lives. Global business has developed into an empire with executives of leading corporations – for whom the public doesn't vote – exerting an enormous influence over politics, the economy, our everyday lives, everything.”

And though The International is a work of fiction that raises the stakes appropriately for a thriller, Tykwer says that the central issue remains the same. "At the core there are two ordinary human beings – people like you and me – fighting a cold-blooded corporate beast that appears unstoppable. I think anyone can relate to their struggle,” he says. 

That interest in exploring the heroism of individuals against overpowering forces and overwhelming odds has become a Tykwer trademark. "Salinger is not only fighting to uncover the bank's crimes, but he's fighting an ideological battle,” explains the director. "The executives run the world like a business rather than a place in which humans live and derive meaningful connection. They are pragmatists first and foremost, and Salinger wants nothing to do with their world view.” 

When he first read the script, Tykwer's interest was piqued by a key scene: the story's hero, Louis Salinger, encounters the bank's assassin by chance on a Manhattan street and an unpromising lead turns into a momentous shift in the case. The quiet tension of that scene, as Salinger and his colleagues follow the assassin, builds to a climax at the Guggenheim Museum. "That scene left an indelible impression and struck me as a great movie moment,” Tykwer recalls. "As the Guggenheim museum events unfolded immediately thereafter, I began to think this could become an interesting film. The last 40 pages of the script made it for me.”

"I think Tom is a real visionary,” Owen says of the director. "He has a fantastic sense of film style and a humanity that informs all his work. Perfume, Run, Lola, Run, Heaven, they're all stylistically very interesting, modernist, and diverse, with strong characters. But, in addition, his sense of compassion and understanding of the human condition is an important dimension to his work.”

"Tom had a very specific vision for what he wanted,” says Roven. "But he's also a great collaborator. He understands what everybody's role is and he brings with him a great team that he's been working with since the beginning of his filmmaking career. He's one of the best people I've ever worked with in terms of not only how he sets up a movie but how he executes it. He gets amazing performances – he's doesn't just shoot the script, he enhances it with every scene.”

"He brought a level of excitement<

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