|I have a "Bourner" for "The American"||1 out of 1 user found this review helpful.|
George Clooney stars as Jack, a hired killer, whose occupation has left him emotionally starved.
The story begins with Jack vacationing in Sweden, but after he narrowly escapes an attempt on his life he goes into hiding in a remote Italian village.
While staying in the village, Jack is commissioned by the mysterious Mathilde—Thekla Reuten—to build a rifle for an unspecified assassination.
Jack then begins seeing a prostitute named Clara—Violante Placido—and gradually forms a relationship with her.
This relationship is the emotional center of the film as we see the highly defensive Jack slowly break down his personal barriers as he longs for a meaningful relationship with Clara.
The film has a repetitive visual motif, beginning a scene with Jack snapping to attention after being awoken by an intrusive noise.
These scenes, which are completely absent of dialogue, are the highlight of Clooney's performance, as the subtle expression of unease seems as natural on the actor's face as it should on the character's.
Paolo Bonacelli loans "The American" its other stand out performance in his portrayal of the village's head cleric, Father Benedetto.
Each scene shared by Bonacelli and Clooney plays like a game of chess between master thespians who wield their crafts with ultimate precision.
Herbert Grönemeyer's minimalist score perfectly aids the film's slow burning plot as it quietly dwells, refusing to build tension through more obvious, bombastic movements.
"The American" is a film more interested in asking who its characters are than of simply showing what they are doing.
What made Jack such an efficient killer? What are Clara's true intentions? Who is the target of Mathilde's assassination? These unanswered questions serve to focus "The American" as a character study, avoiding the distraction of plot that could have devolved the film into a lesser, action-oriented thriller.
Each character feels as though they have existed long before the opening credits with each action and personality trait determined by experiences—as important as those in the film itself—that we are not privy to.
"The American," with its slow
place and story based more on character than plot, may not please movie
goers searching for a more visceral, action-driven experience—but
viewers willing to forego the more typical genre tropes will find a
finely tuned tale of intrigue.
This review was originally published in the Indiana Statesman.
The American Trailer
George Clooney is an assassin who wants out...but we all know there's only one way "out."
|review||I have a "Bourner" for "The American" ( out of 5)||TravisCowan|
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