Monday, September 6, 2010

The American

Summary: An American hitman named Jack (George Clooney) hides out in a small Italian town after an attempt on his life in Sweden. While in Italy he takes a side job crafting a rifle for a hit woman, which a colleague puts him in contact with. During his time there, Jack also develops a relationship with a prostitute however due to his dangerous profession he can’t share his secrets or his inner pain. Although he wants out of this hellish lifestyle it seems impossible for him to escape it and enjoy the simple pleasures of life since death and danger continuously follow him.

Plot (B-): The majority of spy/assassin movies have an intricate plot where you may or may not fully know the protagonists motives. The American does not fall into that category since the story is very straightforward. I could sum up the essence of the film with a few words rather than sentences and it would give you a good understanding of the story such as: survival, guilt, emotional pain, detachment, and love. This is a pretty good movie but it was lacking in one certain area, which will be explained in the Acting & Dialogue section.

Action (B-): This is not like one of the Bourne films where Jason Bourne is fucking guys up left and right in a variety of ways. Other than a few gun shots the majority of the film rests in hands of the actors interactions with one another.

Acting & Dialogue (B-): This is probably George Clooney’s darkest character of his career. He typical picks roles where the characters have life to them which when combined with his own acting talents and charm everything is brought to life. But this is a different character all in all. Clooney plays Jack as a serious man who seems to be tortured by not only the events of the opening scene but his life in general. He only continues to be an assassin because it’s what he’s good at. My biggest compliant with the film was the lack of dialogue. Clooney maybe had 18 lines throughout the whole film and never spoke for more than a few seconds at a time. I feel that if he spoke more the film would have had a bit more life to it. But that’s not the direction the writer and director went for. They wanted a serious and dangerous man who rarely interacts with people and whose emotional pain is visible through his demeanor. To more analytical, his secluded lifestyle is a metaphor for why he keeps people at a distance. This is done out of choice but more importantly out of necessity. The only other actor who shares a fair amount of screen time with Clooney is the voluptuous Italian actress Violante Placido. Placido plays Clara, a prostitute who Jack ends up falling for during his time away. She did a very good job and her chemistry with Clooney was believable especially during the sexual scenes.

Sex Appeal (10): Speaking of sexual scenes there is not only a good amount titties in this film but there’s also some bush. Placido got naked several times, at length, and acted completely natural about it.

Director (C+): Anton Crobijn is still fairly new to directing movies. His resume consists of a few films but is mostly dominated by music videos of bands such as Metallica, U2, and Depeche Mode. Therefore, you can state that he’s still an amateur director when it comes to filming movies. Crobijn did a decent job but I think working with such a good actor such as Clooney was more beneficial to him. It seemed that Clooney took the reins of this film and just went with it. If Crobijn worked with a less talented actor in this film I think he would have run into some troubles. However, I did like the way he filmed the movie. Everything was up close and personal with the actors. The cinematography was great and the setting of Castel del Monte in Abruzzo, Italy was breathtaking.

Overall: B-

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