Anyone who thought that huge bonuses and overpriced office furniture was the worst the big banks could come up with should get a load of The International. The first wide release from Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run) envisions a massive conspiracy in which a global bank deals in high-tech arsenals and Third World dissent, and everyone's in on it.

Anyone who thought that huge bonuses and overpriced office furniture was the worst the big banks could come up with should get a load of The International. The first wide release from Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run) envisions a massive conspiracy in which a global bank deals in high-tech arsenals and Third World dissent, and everyone's in on it.

As dogged Interpol agent Louis Salinger (Clive Owen) discovers, they can tap your phone, doctor police reports, even have you killed with an undetectable, fast-acting poison, and you're a walking corpse if you're considered a real threat.

With New York prosecutor Eleanor Whitman (a wasted Naomi Watts), he seeks an informant that can be kept alive long enough to take it all down, like the nameless assassin who takes orders from Armin Mueller-Stahl's conscience-plagued banker.

You'll need a lot of patience to get through the long, artificially intense exposition, and a raging level of disbelief-slash-paranoia to make them go down smoothly. As Mueller-Stahl says at one point, "The difference between truth and fiction, fiction has to make sense" - a thought that must've escaped screenwriter Eric Singer's head the moment he typed it.

Although Tykwer hasn't lost his touch entirely, this is a noticeable drop in creative ambition from Perfume: Story of a Murderer. Between that and a climactic machine gun battle that turns the Guggenheim into a Coney Island shooting gallery, art is the real loser here.