“You see, the real value of a conflict, the true value, is in the debt that it creates. You control the debt, you control everything. You find this upsetting, yes? But this is the very essence of the banking industry, to make us all, whether we be nations or individuals, slaves to debt.”

They say movies reflect the times. Maybe in the past the bad guys were megalomaniacs with bald heads and cat’s intent on taking over the world (the people not the cat’s). Now, the world must tremble and kneel before, International Bankers.

Whereas in the recent “Duplicity”, Clive Owen looked suave and Bond like in many scenes, here he plays Salinger, an Interpol agent with a haggard look and gives every impression he has not slept for a week and clearly is not getting enough greens.

Salinger is angry, in fact more than a bit. He was close to cracking the case before at the “Yard” but was told to back off. Clearly Interpol is not the place he should have gone to work, as it is made clear to him by his superior that he merely facilitates, as Interpol are not a law enforcement agency.

The action moves from one exotic location to another and certainly on Bluray, the establishing shots of the cities and headquarters are beautifully captured. The film then broadens to include New York with a stand out shoot out within the Guggenheim museum. I am guessing that the interiors were shot on a set, otherwise the museum may be closed for a while for a bit of a cleanup.

Naomi Watts plays Eleanor Whitman from the NY D.A. office joining with Owen to attempt to finally bring to justice the IBBC. A corporation who are deeply involved in bankrolling third world dictators (Niberia anyone?) and brokering missile arms deals to Middle East countries, whilst playing off the other side at the same time.

It is refreshing for a movie to have a male and female protagonists that do not feel it completely necessary to have billowing sheet, candle laden sex at every opportunity. Certainly in this movie there is little time for such shenanigans. Watts at one point asks how long since Salinger has been laid, “Why, you offering” he asks?

Quite why IBBC have not stuck to mortgage lending is not fully explained but according to the sinister Chairman (Thomsen), think Steve Jobs evil twin, he who controls the debt, controls everything. Create and promote a medium size conflict, generate spending that cannot be paid for and then profit from enslaving the debtors in fortitude for the rest of their lives.

So, not unlike mortgage lending after all?

Everyone that gets too close to the truth dies in mysterious circumstances and it is not long before Salinger is on the list. The banks chosen hit man is interestingly portrayed by O’Byrne, it’s almost as if he wanted to show a character where his heart is not really in his work, perhaps he was promoted from Cashier to this new “consultant” role.

This is not an action or effects laden film movie, yet the action is well done and it is always enjoyable to see Jack Mcgee playing a new York cop. Wexler (Mueller-Stahl) again provides a calming influence, playing a shadowy co-conspirator with IBBC although his involvement seems unexplainable even to himself, as he admits

“Well, this is the difference between truth and fiction. Fiction has to make sense.”


An effective well acted thriller with some useful insights, light on action but effective when it arrives. Few effects or explosions and no sex, which will of course limit the broad appeal.

Perhaps the underlying message, that it does not matter what we do to bring justice to shadowy corporations, as soon as you cut off one head another “Hydra-like” will take its place.

A depressing message perhaps but a more realistic one?

Possibly so.