The American; a brief movie review

I didn’t really know what to expect from The American, but I can say because of its title I hadn’t expected it to be so European. The trailers for the movie seemed to suggest that the film was some sort of action/adventure however in reality the film is a slow paced melodrama.

It came as no surprise to see that George Clooney had produced as well as stared in The American as the film is very much driven by the central character played by Clooney. Because the dialogue is some what sparse the film needs someone who can convey thought and emotion in silence, which in my opinion Clooney does, and yet throughout the film we find out very little about its protagonist, raising more questions than giving answers.

The story is centered around George Clooney’s character Jack an assassin/gunsmith who in the opening 5 minutes of the movie gets attacked while walking in the woods in Sweden. Jack then vows to his contact Pavel that his next assignment will be his last having grown weary of the death that surrounds his profession. Jack then holes up in a small town in the Italian countryside and starts constructing a gun as required for his final job. During this time he befriends the local priest and begins a relationship with a local prostitute.

The movie overall is beautifully shot and its slow sober score gives the film a feel of Terrence Malik movies such as the Thin Red Line and The New World although its not quite as beautiful or slow as either.

I know the film makers were trying to tell me more, the constant references to butterflies for example, but in reality I think that this story will have been a better book than it was a movie.  I didn’t ever feel that immersed in the story, I did however feel immersed in Italy and plaudits should be given for the style in which the film was shot.

I imagine many people will loathe this movie, not because of its content but because of the way it was marketed.   Telling the public you are giving them one thing then showing them something else after they have paid their money is never a good idea and as such the marketers have killed something that otherwise could have garnered serious public praise.

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