Monday, September 6, 2010

Movie Review - The American

The American - ***

Directed by:Anton Corbijn

Starring:George Clooney

Review:The title "The American" strikes up a couple of images. A solitary title such as this makes one think of s single solitary man and an outsider. We don't run around calling each other "The American" here in American, so whoever this character is they will be alone and out of their element. That is, as far as we know from just reading the title. This turns out to be true but it's not exactly cut and dry.

The plot of "The American" is very cryptic and requires one to pay attention to all details in every frame during every second of the film. It is a film in which you can tell the filmmakers take a painstaking approach to filming this movie. It is quite beautifully shot movie and done with great style.

"The American" has a very Hitchcock-ian feel to it. Our protagonist is only known by the name "Jack" which he is called only once early on...or is it "Edward" which he is called later in the film? We are not sure and it doesn't seem anybody else is either. We do gather that Jack/Edward is either a spy or an assassin type that specializes in high quality assassination weapons and manufacturing of those weapons.

This is where we pick up this story. Jack/Edward is commissioned by a man for a deal. We are not sure who this man is or his connection to Jack/Edward, although we can assume they have worked together before. Jack/Edward finds himself in a small town in Italy next where he begins work on his weapon he needs to construct for this assignment. We are not sure what the assignment is, what the motivations behind the assignment are or anything of that sort, but we do know that Jack is the only man for the job and we can gather he is probably the best.

We get very little motivations for any of the characters in the movie. We don't know why Jack/Edward is in this business, why he wants to do this job, or why he wants out of the business. Jack/Edward is a man who has accepted what his life is because it is what he is good and and he is convinced it is what he has to do. Although he desperately craves love, he is not allowed to have it due to the nature of his work. It is a lonely existence which drives him to go to brothels where he can pick up prostitutes. If he can't have love at least this allows him to feel it for a night.

After getting more involved than he should with a prostitute, Jack/Edward finds himself slowly becoming more leery about everyone around him. Could his life be in danger? Is he being hunted? We know from earlier that "the Swedes" are after him, but why? This leads to some very intense scenes that are only made more intense by the lush surroundings and filming.

Ultimately, the beauty of this movie is not in the plot but in the filmmaking itself and the acting, all of which is top notch. It was enjoyable and engrossing if for nothing else than how well it was made. I will say it's worth your time but only if you appreciate solid filmmaking and have a lot of patience, as it is a very deliberate, plodding film.

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