The International

Director: Tom Tykwer

Cast: Clive Owen, Naomi Watts, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Ulrich Thomsen, Brian F. O’Byrne, Michel Voletti, Patrick Baladi, Jay Villiers, Fabrice Scott, Haluk Bilginer, Luca Barbareschi, Alessandro Fabrizi, Felix Solis, Jack McGee, Nilaja Sun, Steven Randazzo, Tibor Feldman, James Rebhorn, Remy Auberjonois, Ty Jones, Ian Burfield, Peter Jordan, Axel Milberg, Thomas Morris, Oliver Trautwein, Luigi di Fiore, Georges Bigot, Verena Schonlau, Laurent Spielvogel, Marita Hueber, Giorgio Lupano, Loris Loddi, Natalia Magni, Dino Conti, Lucian Msamati, Benjamin Wandschneider, Naomi Krauss, Luca Calvani, Gerolamo Fancellu, Darren Pettie, Robert Salerno, Amy Kwolek, Alessandro Quattro, Marco Gambino, Matt Patresi, Tristana Moore

Thomas Schumer (Burfield) seats in the back of an Audi parked across Berlin’s central train station. He talks to the tense man in the driver’s seat (Bigot) about the involvement of the International Bank of Business and Credit (IBBC) in the purchase of Italian missile guidance systems. The man talking with Schumer has offered inside information about the bank’s illicit activities in exchange for protection. Interpol agent Louis Salinger (Owen) stands across the street, watching. He sees Schumer leave the car and the informer drive away. As he walks, Schumer passes various pedestrians walking rapidly in the drizzle, among them a slender balding man wearing a blue overcoat. Schumer moves on and nods to Salinger, indicating all is well. As Schumer prepares to cross the street, he suddenly clutches his arm and appears to be in intense pain. He vomits, falls to his knees, and then topples to the ground. Salinger rushes across the street, darting between cars. He is knocked down when hit on the head by the side-view mirror of a rapid-moving van. Salinger wakes up in a hospital. He quickly checks himself out and requests to see Schumer’s body. The coroner has given the cause of death as a heart attack, but Salinger insists on thoroughly inspecting the body. He finds a small puncture on the back of the neck and asks that a full autopsy be conducted. Salinger phones New York Assistant District Attorney Eleanor Whitman (Watts) and tells her about Schumer’s death. Whitman travels to Berlin and, with Salinger, meets with German Police authorities. The two want Schumer’s death investigated as a murder. The autopsy found traces of cyanide and prussic acid in Schumer’s body. The poison would have been administered immediately before death. Salinger was looking at Schumer the whole time, but cannot tell how it was done. Salinger and Whitman tell the Police that Schumer was in Berlin to talk to an important witness. Interpol suspects the IBBC is involved in a number of international crimes, including money laundering and illegal weapons trades. The New York District Attorney’s office is involved in the investigation because a principal IBBC branch office is in New York City. Their joint investigation has yielded results, but charges have not been brought because all witnesses have died or disappeared before they could testify. The lead Police investigator says he sees no justification for an investigation of the IBBC and dismisses Whitman and Salinger. Whitman returns to New York City and Salinger goes to his apartment in Lyon, France. While there he recalls seeing the man in the blue overcoat brushing past Schumer as he walked away from the informant’s car. At Interpol headquarters in Lyon, Salinger reads a newspaper article about an IBBC executive, Andre Clement, being killed in a peculiar automobile accident. He identifies Clement as their informer. Salinger gets a copy of the Police report on Clement’s road accident. The description of Clement’s activities prior to his death includes a statement from Jonas Skarssen, the head of the IBBC, saying that Clement was at Skarssen’s house on business throughout the day until he left to drive home. Salinger knows Clement could not have been with Skarssen that early. If Salinger can get Skarssen to repeat his lie about Clement’s itinerary prior to his death, he can justify an investigation of the IBBC’s involvement in Clement’s death. At a museum, IBBC executive Wilhelm Wexler (Mueller-Stahl) meets the assassin (O’Byrne), a man referred to as “the consultant,” and gives him his next assignment. Salinger sets up an interview with Skarssen. Waiting at the atrium of the magnificent IBBC headquarters building in Luxembourg, Salinger sees Skarssen (Thomsen) walking on an upper-floor hallway with a group of bank officials, but is unable to get his attention. Salinger is met by Skarssen’s attorney Martin White (Baladi) and the IBBC’s attorney. White claims he was at Skarssen’s house during the meeting with Clement and gives a timeline consistent with the evidence. When Salinger brandishes the Police report where Skarssen stated Clement had arrived hours earlier, White tells him the report is in error. The IBBC attorney says Salinger has a copy of a draft report. He produces what he says is the official version where Skarssen’s account matches White’s. Salinger later finds electronic listening devices in his apartment and at his Interpol boss’s house, explaining how the IBBC knew to have the Police report altered before meeting him. Salinger is certain that IBBC executives conspired to kill Clement to prevent him from testifying. Trying to find out what Clement knew about the IBBC’s transactions, Eleanor Whitman holds a series of phone conversations with Clement’s widow, kept short because the woman is terrified. Whitman eventually gets a terse text message on her cell phone, “talk to Umberto Calvini.” Calvini is the head of an Italian defense contractor and also a prominent Italian political figure. Salinger and Whitman set up a meeting with Calvini (Barbareschi) in Milan. Calvini was well acquainted with Clement and had been working with him on a sale to the IBBC. The bank has been working on a deal that involves purchasing missiles from China, fitting them with modern guidance systems, and selling the upgraded missiles to a Middle Eastern country. Calvini’s corporation was to supply the guidance systems, but recently broke off the deal. Calvini tells Salinger and Whitman that the IBBC finances illicit transactions on behalf of many nations, business entities and political factions. The IBBC controls their debt, and that gives them widespread influence. Calvini interrupts the meeting to attend a political rally. While delivering a speech at the Piazza Duca D’Aosta, Calvini is shot by a sniper. Salinger and Whitman rush to the scene and get on the trail of the assassin. They lose sight of him, but through subsequent investigations they begin to sketch out his identity. Salinger and Whitman receive orders to drop the case, but Whitman has an insight that allows them to track the assassin to New York City. If they can find him they may be able to turn him and implicate the IBBC in several murders. But the IBBC leadership learns that Salinger and Whitman are close to finding the consultant. They instruct Wilhelm Wexler to deal with the situation. Facing deadly danger from a seemingly all-powerful adversary, Salinger and Whitman must decide what price they are willing to pay to continue their quest for justice. Screenplay by Eric Warren Singer.

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