It would be wishful thinking to imagine a feel-good movie about banking this year. But does the industry really deserve this latest offering from Hollywood?
From the trailers and hype, "The International" doesn´t center on mortgages or company jets chartered by former CEOs or even government bailouts. Instead, it tells the story of a large multinational bank that is really the front for a powerful and corrupt arms-dealing operation. The film´s two heroes, played by Clive Owen and Naomi Watts, try to take the bank down.
Ok, so a bank is cast negatively on the big screen. What else is new? It was only a few years ago that Mr. Owen co-starred in "Inside Man," in which he plots a massive bank heist, and Denzel Washington plays the cop hot on his pursuit. The twist: the robbery was hatched to uncover secrets about the bank´s Nazi past.
Bankers haven´t been sympathetic screen figures for some time. Remember "Potter?"
But, despite the financial services industry´s sullied reputation over the past year, the damming plotline of "The International," - set to open today - seems to reach a new height.
According to a tagline for the flick on the IMDB.com Web site, the movie portrays the industry this way: "They control your money. They control your government. They control your life. And everybody pays."
The film´s release seems likely to satisfy some viewers eager to watch a castigation of bailed-out banks. But, the reviews have been mixed. According to a Washington Post reviewer today, the film "doesn't deliver quite the satisfying payoff that TARP-weary audiences may be hungry for."