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A 2009 conspiracy thriller starring Clive Owen and Naomi Watts. Interpol Agent Louis Salinger (Owen) and Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Eleanor Whitman (Watts) are determined to bring to justice one of the world's most powerful banks, the International Bank of Business and Credit. Uncovering illegal activities including money laundering, arms trading, and the destabilization of governments, Salinger and Whitman's investigation takes them from Berlin to Milan to New York and to Istanbul. Finding themselves in a high-stakes chase across the globe, their relentless tenacity puts their own lives at risk as the bank will stop at nothing - even murder - to continue financing terror and war.
Tropes present in this work include:
- Always Murder: Salinger is convinced of this when his partner has a heart attack after meeting a contact. He's right, of course.
- Arms Dealer
- Big Bad: Jonas Skarssen, chairman of IBBC.
- Blast Out: The Guggenheim scene feels like a scene out of a First-Person Shooter.
- Bulletproof Vest: The Consultant.
- Career Killer: An assassin, and a...
- Cold Sniper
- Contract on the Hitman: Which leads to an Enemy Mine situation.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: All of the IBBC.
- Daddy's Little Villain: Skarssen keeps his young son around for a teleconference as they play a game of Go.
- Dead Partner: twice.
- Deadly Euphemism: "The Consultant"
- Diabolus Ex Machina: If the Big Bad's mooks hadn't been tipped off by the birds, the film would have ended way differently.
- Downer Ending: Skarssen is killed by The Mafia, effectively stopping Salinger from exposing the IBBC′s crimes. On top of that, the bank continues to expand and operate successfully under a new chairman who adopts aggressive policies.
- Enemy Mine: Both Salinger and the Consultant are forced to cooperate when they′re attacked by other assassins at the Guggenheim.
- Establishing Shot: many, many of them - the name of the film is entirely justified. Most of them are very pretty.
- Fair Cop: Whitman
- Forensic Drama: briefly, when looking into the assassination of Calvini.
- Government Conspiracy
- Handicapped Badass: The Consultant. Becomes a plot point when his leg brace allows the police to track him down.
- The Handler: Wexler, for the Consultant
- He Knows Too Much: Wexler
- Hidden Wire
- How Dare You Die on Me!: oddly, delivered to the Enemy Mine in the gallery shootout - more a case of "I can only get out of here if you help me", but there's also the fact that Salinger wants him to testify.
- Instant Death Bullet: gorily averted on several occasions. One character bleeds out messily from a neck wound, one takes a long time to die from a stomach wound, and all the professional killers in the film employ Make Sure He's Dead headshots.
- Jurisdiction Friction: Mostly averted, despite all the local police forces involved. Most of the friction is with the higher-ups.
- Karma Houdini: The IBBC ultimately got away with all of their crimes despite Skarssen′s death.
- Monumental Battle: in the Guggenheim, New York.
- Nebulous Criminal Conspiracy: The bank is simply the middle man at the centre of one of these.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: The IBBC is based on the real-life (and now-defunct) 1980′s bank Bank of Credit and Commerce International, which indulged in money laundering for people such as Saddam Hussein and Manuel Noriega, and even for the CIA.
- Non-Action Big Bad: Skarssen. He spends the end of the film trying to escape from Salinger without even fighting back once.
- No Name Given: The Consultant. "Timothy Sherwood" is just an alias he used.
- People's Republic of Tyranny: Liberia
- Perfect Poison: One that gives someone a heart attack within seconds of introduction and leaves no trace. Handy!
- Reality Ensues: What, you expect the bank to go bankrupt just because their chairman died?
- Redemption Equals Death: Happens twice.
- Scenery Porn: The movie has many gorgeous shots of Berlin, Milan, New York, and Istanbul.
- Shaggy Dog Story: The Mafia assassinating Skarssen effectively renders Salinger′s efforts completely moot. His subsequent Thousand-Yard Stare speaks for itself.
- Smart People Play Chess: The Big Bad is shown teaching his son Go.
- Spy Speak: Subverted when the hitman and his handler meet at an art gallery and have a stilted conversation about the painting they're looking at - turns out they already know each other, and they were just making conversation.
- Stairwell Chase
- Strange Bedfellows: Salinger and the Consultant escaping the Guggenheim after the latter becomes aware of the Contract on the Hitman.
- Thousand-Yard Stare: Salinger upon witnessing Skarssen′s death.
- Vigilante Man: Wexler convinces Salinger to become this, tipping off The Mafia that the IBBC shot their old patriarch, and then attempting to do the same with the Syrians.
- Villainous Demotivator: Wexler only helps Salinger because he knows he hasn't got long to live.
- War for Fun and Profit
Umberto Calvini: The IBBC is a bank. Their objective isn't to control the conflict, it's to control the debt that the conflict produces. 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.
- Why We're Bummed Communism Fell: Wexler turns out to be an ex-Stasi agent who lost his job after the German reunification prior to his recruitment by the IBBC.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: The IBBC engages in this quite a bit.