For a movie titled “The American” the movie itself isn’t very American. The feel and style of this movie is pure European film making. George Clooney plays a very different character than we are used to. The suave charm that seeps out of him he keeps in check. George plays this character whose name is Jack but sometimes Edward who is quiet and keeps to himself. The plot is very simple, Clooney is an American assassin on the run from a group of other assassins. The movie claim they are Swedish but who knows. I’ll get back to them later. George hides out in a small Italian village and befriends a local priest. He keeps quiet but begins to fall in love with a prostitute. While in hiding he takes a job from his boss to deliver a rifle to another assassin. As time passes and more threats emerge he becomes paranoid and even questions the friends and lovers he’s made.
The film itself is basically James Bond at the end of his run as a paid assassin. It’s what Never Say Never Again should have been. Director Anton Corbjn gets my vote to direct a future Bond film. Mainly because spy films have lost a thing over the last decade, they have lost tension. Bourne was frantic and quickly paced. The Bond reboots are made of impressive action scenes but Bond and Bourne are invincible super heroes. Here Clooney’s spy is not a play boy, has no quick one liners. He is pretty simple. In this simple world where violence pops out from any direction it leaves the audience tense. Many will claim this movie is “slow”… They are idiots. Film is not paced like an action film. It takes its time and the audience wins with this decision. Clooney’s character is cold blooded but somehow since we spend pretty much the entire film with him you can’t help but stay worried. Also visually the film is stunning, every shot looks beautiful and when watching it you can’t help but want to leave the theater and grab a plane ticket to Italy. Just make sure you don’t get tricked into thinking this is an action film, it’s a character piece with bits of violence thrown in.
The love story works for me, sure leads falling in love with prostitutes is kind of a tired story arc, but here it works. Clooney and Violante Placido make every scene between them sexy and in a weird way romantic. Corbjn makes this work though, if someone else was behind the camera I’m not exactly sure if the film would work. He just gets it. You must see this in a well behaved audience because the film is quiet. If you’re in a theater with loud ass holes the vibe will be ruined for you. Be mind full of this. I luckily got to see it in a perfect old theater so try and find the right theater to see this movie in.
My only complaint is that the villains that are chasing him are not defined. I can’t decide if I love this or not. The action starts pretty quick in the film and I had no idea what the “Swedes” were after. I think it over and I love it, the next second I wish I knew more about them. That literally is my only problem with the picture. Over all is a very solid and well-crafted spy picture. It’s not a stunning thriller, there are no huge twists, but for me it was a pleasant surprise. The summer was fun but lacked a lot of just solid films. The American might not feel American but it is well designed spy story that you should check out.