A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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.
- Parents say
- Kids say
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?
- In theaters: February 13, 2009
- On DVD or streaming: June 9, 2009
- Cast: Armin Mueller-Stahl, Clive Owen, Naomi Watts
- Director: Tom Tykwer
- Studio: Columbia Tristar
- Genre: Thriller
- Run time: 118 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: some sequences of violence and language
- Last updated: March 14, 2020
For kids who love thrills
Our editors recommend
Top advice and articles
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
Streaming options powered by JustWatch