Quotes from ‘The International’

This has nothing to do with Lowell other than that we are consumers of the pop culture like everyone else. One of my favorite films of recent years is “The International” (2009), starring Clive Owen as Interpol investigator Louis Salinger and Naomi Watts as New York City Assistant District Attorney Eleanor Whitman. It was the Saturday night movie-of-choice in our house last weekend. The film has a fabulous look and mood, along with snappy and loaded writing and a complex storyline. The settings are Berlin, New York, Turkey, and other places. I found these nuggets of dialogue from the screenplay online. If you haven’t seen the film, I suggest you give it a try.—PM


Jonas Skarssen: What do you want?
Louis Salinger: I want some f—g justice.

Wilhelm Wexler: Sometimes a man can meet his destiny on the road he took to avoid it.

Louis Salinger: Sometimes the hardest thing in life is to know which bridge to cross and which to burn… I’m the one you burn.
Eleanor Whitman: We are just trying to get to the truth! New York D.A.: I get it! But what you need to remember is that there’s what people want to hear, there’s what people want to believe, there’s everything else, THEN there’s the truth! Eleanor Whitman: And since when it’s that OK? I can’t even believe you are saying this to me! The truth means responsibility, Arnie! New York D.A.: Exactly! Which is why everyone dreads it!

André Clement: I am more comfortable tense.

Wilhelm Wexler: We cannot control the things life does to us. They are done before you know it, and once they are done, they make you do other things. Until at last everything comes between you and the man you wanted to be.

Umberto Calvini: [In explaining the “true” nature of banking in the world] 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.

Louis Salinger: Based on everything I’ve read about you, you seem like the kind of man who aspired to die for something more than this. Wilhelm Wexler: Well, this is the difference between truth and fiction. Fiction has to make sense.
Wilhelm Wexler: Character is easier kept than recovered.

Cassian Skarssen: When there’s no way out, you find a deeper way in.

Jonas Skarssen: [to his son regarding a board game] This is a game that rewards patience and balance. You must think like a man of action and act like a man of thought.

One Response to Quotes from ‘The International’

  1. Daniel Patrick Murphy says:

    Paul, “…to know which bridge to cross…” triggered an old poem:

    The Merrimack

    Plunge deeply in the cold, cascading whirl.
    Bleed slate-grey wounds (slash-marks the whipperin.
    Burn the bridges, swim the river’s swirl.
    Plunge deeply in.

    Feel the clutching current’s striped white skin.
    Claw-hammer the rapids rocks–crack, then hurl.
    Dark and light are two poles within.

    The river runs down to the salty, coiled curls
    where the roaring waves rumble and unpin.
    The ocean’s foamed fold releases, unfurls.
    Plunge deeply in.

    –Daniel Patrick Murphy

    As my friend Tony Sampas (Nicky’s brother) said: “Hey Danny, it sounds like a cold bath without the soap.”