Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Review: The American

Grade: A-

Jack is an American assassin working in Europe. When a job in Sweden goes wrong and ends a lot quicker than he would have like, involving the death of an innocent, Jack heads to Rome to meet up with his contact. His contact, Pavel, tells Jack to head to a small town in the Italian countryside and await further orders. Once there, he is informed by Pavel that his next job he doesn’t even have to pull a trigger, just build a custom weapon for a mysterious woman named Mathilda. During his stay in this town, Jack, against his better judgment, befriends a priest and begins to fall in love with a beautiful woman by the name of Clara. After some inward thinking, Jack then decides that this job will be his last.

Right off the bat I feel it is absolutely necessary to tell you to completely ignore the commercials and trailers for this movie. The American is not the Jason Bourne/James Bond stylized action/suspense movie that those ads make it out to be, not one bit. In fact, there is hardly any action at all in this movie. Those ads are trying to get people in the seats, and it will work, but most of those people are going to be sorely disappointed in this movie.

Rather, The American is a slow moving story about a man who is not sure who he truly is or if he likes what he does for a living. This film is a work of art. Every camera shot is done so carefully as to show the beauty of the surroundings of this haunted man. This film focuses on the look and feel of the settings and it delves into the character of Jack himself. This is a very quiet movie, not much going on other than the conversations that Jack has with the few people he allows himself to talk to.

The movie really focuses on the performance of George Clooney (Up in the Air, Burn After Reading) and the character he is playing. Clooney has always been a great actor and he just seems to keep getting better. He plays Jack, or Edward depending on who he’s talking to( we never really find out his real name), who is an assassin. While we never really see him as an assassin, we are shown how good he is with building things. Clooney does such a great job with this character, really showing the different sides of who Jack is. Jack really only ever talks to three or four people, and with each person it’s a different personality. When talking to Pavel or Mathilda, he is strictly business, only asking for details of the assignment and really only speaking when spoken to. When he is speaking with Father Benedetto, he is as open as he’s willing to be, speaking vaguely about what he does but showing that he has remorse for the things he’s done. And when talking to Clara, he is more upbeat and definitely shows signs of being a romantic at heart. Yes, this is definitely one of Clooney’s better performances.

I enjoyed this movie, but I could tell that this was going to be a character study and not the action thriller the trailer is promising. This movie definitely is not for everyone. It is a deep character study and, as I said many times before, it moves rather slowly. By that I don’t mean that it drags on and on, I just mean that the pace of the movie is much slower, much more relaxed than most movies. If you are looking for a great character study with beautiful camera work and great acting, then go see the American.

1 comment:

  1. It is an action plus thriller movie. I did not like it very much. I will giv it 3 rating out of 10. I enjoyed the film in about the same way I would enjoy a short story.