The International

Movie review by
James Rocchi, Common Sense Media
The International Movie Poster Image
Gritty '70s-style thriller is cynical, grim, and violent.
  • R
  • 2009
  • 118 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 4 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The film presents a pretty grim view of the world in its take on corruption and the oppressive nature of modern global capitalism and its excesses in the name of profit. Although the main characters are working for justice, there aren't any particularly strong role models here. One character is a law enforcement agent who's willing to go outside the letter of the law. And there's a moment in which it's clearly implied that a lead character is willing to use torture to break a suspect.


Several scenes of astonishingly grim real-world violence: A poisoned man vomits and falls to the street; the friend who rushes to help him is hit by a car. A political figure is shot; the assassin is then shot by authorities. A character is hit by another car. A tense, bloody shootout in a public place results in grisly, blood-spurting deaths and terrified innocent bystanders. Viewers also see a person fall to their death, stabbings, and point-blank shootings.


A fleeting caress on the cheek between two co-workers hints at sexual tension.


Strong language includes several variations of "f--k," some use of "s--t," and "for Christ's sake." "Ass" and some variations are also used.


Visible brands include Marlboro cigarettes, the Mercedes logo, the Blackberry logo, and some brands/manufacturers mentioned for plot reasons, like Silkworm missiles and Vulcan guidance systems.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some smoking and drinking by adult characters.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this thriller about financial corruption probably won't be on most teens' must-see list. Just as well: Not only is it full of wrenching action sequences and grimly realistic (and shocking) violence, but it also has a deeply cynical, hard-to-stomach attitude about the possibilities of finding justice in a wicked world and the interplay between high finance and street-level warfare. There's also some drinking and smoking and strong language (including "f--k") -- but virtually no sexual content.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byuytt2 November 5, 2009

worth watching in theaters

this movie is really good better than i thought becuse the trailer looked stupid really a bank is higher than the authorities bull crap. Not to violent good scr... Continue reading
Adult Written bymovielover10117 September 28, 2009
this movie was brilliantely made. the cast was absolutely amazing and the script was pretty great as well. the film is rated r because of the violence and langu... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byhoarderer January 20, 2013

Great thriller. Highly recommended!

This is my all time favourite movie. The script was original, it was well acted, it was fast paced. Sure, there is quite a bit of violence and blood but it is c... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old November 13, 2010

great action

great action movie

What's the story?

In THE INTERNATIONAL, Manhattan D.A. Eleanor Whitman (Naomi Watts) and Interpol agent Louis Salinger (Clive Owen) are working a long, difficult case to try to bring a massively corrupt bank to justice. It's too bad that everyone who speaks out against the bank or offers to come forward with information about its gun-running, money-laundering, arms-dealing activities disappears or suddenly dies. ...

Is it any good?

This film is cynical, conspiracy-minded, and refreshingly down-to-the-ground. Directed by Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run), The International is a throwback to '70s thrillers like Three Days of the Condor and The Parallax View -- mean, methodically made movies with a strong cynical streak and no built-in guarantee that good will triumph over evil.

And yet you do find yourself a little torn watching The International; much like Michael Clayton, it's a film that promises rock-'em-sock-'em thrills in the trailer and ad campaign and then provides a much more dramatic, disquieting experience. But unlike Michael Clayton, The International never quite catches -- in part thanks to a gripping action sequence set at the Guggenheim in New York that makes everything else feel a little anticlimactic. Still, The International has a moral and intellectual backbone that elevates it far above most modern thrillers.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about whether the violence in this movie seems more realistic than in other thrillers. Why or why not? Do you think watching realistic violence in the media has more impact than sci-fi/fantasy action? Families can also discuss whether situation in the movie seems realistic. Is it upsetting to think of institutions like banks being involved in illegal activities? Is the movie more unsettling given the current state of the economy? Also, is there ever a time when it's appropriate to go outside the law to deal with a crime? What consequences could that have?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love thrills

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