Learning Truth from Fiction: “The International” (2009)

The International (2009) Poster

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.

Salinger: I’m confused, Colonel. Why would a tried and true communist, a hard-liner who spent thirty years in the STASI fighting the evils of capitalism; why would this man waste his days working for the very institution that was the embodiment of everything he once despised. You dedicated your life to the communist ideal. You sacrificed everything for the good of the party. For what? . . . when the wall fell your whole life fell apart with it.

Wexler: You know nothing about me. I was lost long before the wall fell. I was once destined to become a man much like yourself – true-hearted, determined, full of purpose. But, character is easier kept than recovered. We cannot control the things life does to us. They are done before you know it, and when they are done they make you do other things, until at last everything comes between you and the man you wanted to be.

Salinger: No, we all have choices in life. You made yours. Sometimes a man can meet his destiny on the road he took to avoid it. Skarssen and the bank need to answer for what they have done; they must be brought to justice. You can help me do that.

Wexler: Justice is not possible.

Salinger: Why not?

Wexler: Because, Agent Salinger, your idea of justice is an illusion. Don’t you understand the very system you serve and protect will never allow anything to happen to Skarssen or the bank? On the contrary, the system guarantees the IBCC’s safety, because everyone is involved.

Salinger: What do you mean everyone?

Wexler: Hezbollah, CIA, the Colombian drug cartels, Russian organized crime, governments of Iran, Germany, China and your government; every multi-national corporation, everyone; they all need banks like the IBCC so that they can operate within the black and grey latitudes. And that is why your investigative efforts have been ignored or undermined. That is why you and I will be quietly disposed of before any case against the bank ever reaches a court of law.

Salinger: So what are we supposed to do? Are we supposed to give up and accept that this is the way of the world? I’m not gonna do that. I still believe, I know, that there has to be a way to bring down this bank and you are gonna help me.

Wexler: You understand, if you really want to stop the IBCC, you won’t be able to do it within the boundaries of your system of justice. You will have to go outside. Once you do, there will always be collateral damage. Could you sacrifice your own ideals for the greater good? That’s a difficult choice – one I understand all too well, but as you so eloquently put it sometime a man can meet his destiny on the road he took to avoid it.

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