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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

[6.25/10] The American (2010)


The American (2010)

"The American" is an adaptation of Martin Booth's novel A Very Private Gentleman", and it tells the story of Jack, who as an assassin is constantly on the move and always alone. After a job in Sweden ends more harshly than expected for this American abroad, Jack retreats to the Italian countryside. He relishes being away from death for a spell as he holes up in a small medieval town. While there, Jack takes an assignment to construct a weapon for a mysterious contact, Mathilde. Savoring the peaceful quietude he finds in the mountains of Abruzzo, Jack accepts the friendship of local priest Father Benedetto and pursues a torrid liaison with a beautiful woman, Clara. Jack and Clara's time together evolves into a romance, one seemingly free of danger. But by stepping out of the shadows, Jack may be tempting fate. "The American" is a subtle.. maybe too subtle 'assassin' thriller, that is fairly gripping and well-shot, yet hardly involving. This slow burner definitely succeeds in certain areas, such as acting, direction and cinematography, but it fails to deliver the suspense and intrigue that this particular genre demands, and it lacks a satisfying climax. Acting-wise, "The American" doesn't disappoint. Gorge Clooney turns in a fine performance as the concealed assassin, Jack. He somehow manages to distinguish this performance from his previous ones - his quiet character in this film requires subtlety, maturity and seriousness, and he delivers all that. Irina Björklund also does a decent job as Ingrid - she's gorgeous and sophisticated, yet dangerous and menacing assassin. Violante Placido is not only a stunning-looking middle-aged Italian woman, but she also possesses some acting skills, as she's very convincing as Clara. In addition, the chemistry between her and Clooney is absolutely great. Visually, "The American" is absolutely striking, as it's beautifully-filmed against a backdrop of authentic Italian country village scenery. Plus, the editing is flawless, Anton Corbijn's direction is mature and competent, and the pacing, while a tad slow in few parts, works well and it never drags too much. "The American" may not be very thrilling or intriguing, but it's well-acted and beautifully-executed, and it does manage to entertain throughout its running time.

5 comments:

J-SON said...

Yeah, this was the movie that split film lovers into two equal camps. Some loved it while some don't.

I'll be watching RED tomorrow, can't wait for it!

Jaccstev said...

I bet those who going into this film expecting another Clooney action/thriller are going to walk away disappointed.

Nebular said...

@J-Son, I completely agree, and yet my opinion on this film falls somewhere in the middle.

@Jaccsy, I wasn't expecting it to be another typical Clooney action/thriller, so I felt mildly satisfied. The trailer doesn't misled, so viewers should know exactly what to expect.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I almost went to see this in the theater. I like slow burners so will check it out on NetFlix.

Nebular said...

Another one on NetFlix queue, Alex?:) It was far from great, but still worth seeing.