The American (15)

Film

Thrillers

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Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>3</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>3</span>/5
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Time Out says

Tue Nov 23 2010

Anton Corbijn showed with ‘Control’, his film about Joy Division’s Ian Curtis, that, as a photographer-turned-filmmaker, he’s as happy to let his camera linger on a troubled character’s good-looking face or to indulge a moody landscape as to tell a story through traditional means. He pushes that approach to the limit with this attractive, quiet, passive study of Jack (George Clooney in his most downbeat role ever), the American in question, whom we first meet on the snow flats of Sweden and quickly learn has lethal potential despite his calm exterior and love of butterflies.

Soon, this shadowy weapons-maker, operating in a world of murder and hitmen which, we assume, could erupt into violence any minute, is hiding out in the hills of Abruzzo, east of Rome, and trying to remain incognito. He strikes up a rapport with a prostitute (Violante Placido) and shares a drink with a priest (Paolo Bonacelli), but mostly he wanders, drinks coffee and remains silent while discreetly preparing a gun for a smart woman (Thekla Reuten) about whom we know even less.

Meanwhile, our man maintains infrequent contact with a handler (Johan Leysen) who was surely cast for the noble trenches of worry running across his face.
‘The American’ is a better film when little is happening – which is much of the time – because when fragments of story do disturb the piece, they tend to stress the film’s more clichéd elements: the kindly prostitute; the hard man with a soft side; the priest who elicits confessions.

At its best, the film’s silence and unrevealing mood of observation remind you of ‘The Passenger’ or Paulo Sorrentino’s ‘Consequences of Love’, although Corbijn also nods awkwardly to Sergio Leone and the western genre. At its worst, ‘The American’ feels like the filmic equivalent of a classy coffee-table book or an ad for Italian coffee itself.
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Release details

Rated:

15

UK release:

Fri Nov 26, 2010

Duration:

105 mins

Users say

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

3.1 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:1
  • 4 star:3
  • 3 star:4
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|15
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Marsellus

Watched this again for the 2nd time last night. Usually a film with a slow pace is a bad thing but there is something serene about the location and cinematography that makes the audience sit and calmly watch the story slowly unfold. Clooney's restrained performance and the minimal dialogue in the script complement the mood of the film perfectly. Easily one of Clooney's best and also one of his most different roles. If I were to describe the story, it would sound like a dozen other action films - but The American is fresher in comparison to its stale contemporaries.

andy

people who found this boring are probably used to hollywood action packed popcorn trash.Very much a eurothriller with plenty of emphasis on character.Not much plot but I don,t think there needed to be.Wasnt that kind of film.And Clooney has never been better.

ed

Was expecting this film to be at odds with the casting of George Clooney, and as much as I like him, i wasn't expecting him to carry off this kind of role without being GEORGE.... But no he was amazing. The main thing that stopped this film from being a classic was the predicatblity of it's plot. For me the plot had as much invention as your regular Dolph Lundgren flick... Here it's jsut the performances and the "gilding of the lilly" (cinematopgraphy , locations, score) that elevate this... But why make a meal out of such an ordinary story?

Rosa

This movie was the absolute worse movie I have ever seen, Extremely boring. Extremely long for nothing. Didn't even enjoy watching the usually handsome Cloony!

long cat

George Clooney's worst role as a boring unimaginitive hitman trying to retire - whole movie should've lasted ten minutes. Totally boring excrement.

il duca

This movie is not even worth downloading illegally on the web. No scenario, no acting, no dialogue, a storyline that goes along owing to the (poor) imagination of the director, and you leave the cinema with this bad feeling of having wasted both time and money.

Ric

What an easy pay packet for mr clooney. If i want to see good scenery-i would go out a walk,NOT TO THE CINEMA.NOTHING happens,absolute joke!Clooney has some tea,romps with a couple of hookers,assembles his guns & ammunition,runs for 200 yards,gets killed in the end & that has wasted 2hrs of my life.Gets 1 star because if you rate any timeout movie without a star the review score stays the same!

Rosy

Is it only me who has spotted the gaping hole in the plot, i.e. who kills who at the end makes no sense whatsoever. Apart from that the film had an elegaic and thoughtful quality often missing from Hollywood movies.

John A

A trio of T's: tension, tedium, titillation. The positives just about outweigh the negatives.

Nik

I thought this film was beautifully shot, asked some basic questions about good and evil, life and mortality, and was, in a real sense, a very un-American film in it's approach and it's ending. Not perfect, but I found it very good, and definitely would recommend it.

ALFREDO

THIS IS HOW THRILLERS SHOULD BE: JUST THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF VIOLENCE, REAL CHARACTERS, TOUGH BUT VULNERABLE AT THE SAME TIME, PASSION, THAT MEANS GOOD SEX, BETRAYAL, BEAUTIFUL LOCATIONS. THE DIRECTOR AND THE SCREENWRITER HOWEVER DON'T LET US TO KNOW MUCH ABOUT THE PLOT. THEY WANT US TO CONCENTRATE ON THE MESSAGE, WHICH IS WHAT YOU DO WITH YOUR LIFE, IS THERE SOME LOVE LEFT AFTER ALL, AND FATE, SOMETHING YOU CANNOT ESCAPE FROM. I THINK SCHAKESPEARE WOULD HAD SIGNED.

Sticky

This film is really worth checking out, if you like character studies rather than all-out action. However, that's not to say this isn't exciting because there are many tense scenes in the film. As for George Clooney, this is one of his best-ever performances. No smarmy looks, just serious.

Sticky

This film is really worth checking out, if you like character studies rather than all-out action. However, that's not to say this isn't exciting because there are many tense scenes in the film. As for George Clooney, this is one of his best-ever performances. No smarmy looks, just serious.