The American


By Gary Murray

George Clooney is one of the true movie stars left in Hollywood. He has the name recognition to open a film strong, no matter what the subject. In a world where special effects and planned tie-in are all a part of the matrix of moving making, he is one of the few standouts, somehow above all the fray of Tinsel Town. His latest is another push for Oscar gold and is entitled The American.

The film starts in Sweden with our American Jack (George Clooney) in a woodland cabin with a woman just after a tryst. Moments later as they make their way to town, the woman notices a single set of tracks, assuming it is a lone hunter. Jack hits the rocks as bullets begin to fly. He shoots the assassin and tells the woman to go and get the police. As she turns, Jack puts a bullet in her head. Then he takes out the driver in another barrage of lead.

The story turns to Italy as Jack tries to lay low, posing as a photographer. His contact sends him to the mountains of Abruzzo but our anti-hero throws out the cell phone and goes to a different town than planned. Almost instantly he befriends Father Benedetto (Paolo Bonacelli) who seems to have some secrets in his past. As the men bond, Jack is contracted to building a weapon from a mystery woman Mathilde (Thekla Reuten) She wants a weapon that fires like a machine gun with the power of a rifle. In his down time, Jack visits a brothel and befriends a stunning prostitute Clara (Violante Placido). As he becomes closer to this woman, he begins to question every aspect of his life. How all these elements pull together to an inevitable conclusion drives The American.

This is another strong performance by George Clooney. He is best at playing conflicted men, people who are at a crossroads. Here we get a load of the same mannerisms but they still convey the right emotions. The American doesn't break any new ground for George but it does solidify his leading man credentials.

Violante Placido gives a great reading as the hooker with a heart of gold. In what has become a cliche, she shows some real acting prowess. The audience believes that she is the one who can save his soul, something that he can not do himself. This simple role should put the woman on agents radar.
The production values of The American are solid through and through. We are treated to the backdrop of rural Italy in a way seldom seen on the Silver Screen. The winding streets, with cobble stones and close white walls, give a strong sense of place to the actions. It almost becomes a travelogue for visiting the country.
There are some major problems with The American, all falling on director Anton Corbijn. He never finds a true pace with the production. It goes from meticulous to boring, never filling the screen with any sense of urgency. The action sequences are not delivered with any action. Between the beginning and the ending, very little happens and Anton Corbijn doesn't give us enough inner workings of Clooney to give the audience any reason to truly care for him.

The American is one of those early Oscar buzz flicks, the kind that are always put out early in the fall to generate buzz for the long shots. This is a long shot for Oscar glory, a little film with a great cast and not much more.


.AOLWebSuite .AOLPicturesFullSizeLink { height: 1px; width: 1px; overflow: hidden; } .AOLWebSuite a {color:blue; text-decoration: underline; cursor: pointer} .AOLWebSuite a.hsSig {cursor: default}

Written By
More from Gary Murray
  END OF WATCH   By Gary “Conclusion of observation” Murray  ...
Read More
0 replies on “The American”