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Written by Rowan Joffe
Directed by Anton Corbijn
Starring George Clooney, Thekla Reuten and and Violante Placido
Father Benedetto: You are American. You think you can escape history. You live for the present.
Ordinarily, when Americans travel abroad, they are expected to be boorish, loud and down right disruptive. In Anton Corbijn’s second feature, THE AMERICAN, it is practically the polar opposite. George Clooney plays Jack (or Edward depending on who he is talking to), an assassin on what he hopes to be his last assignment, hidden away in a tiny Italian village, where he expects no one will ever find him. Unlike his American friends, Jack keeps to himself as much as possible and tries to make as little noise as he can but, just like his American friends, he does not leave without disrupting everything.
THE AMERICAN is a very quiet film. Corbijn shows immense growth from his first feature, CONTROL, a black and white ode to Ian Curtis, the tragic lead singer of Joy Division. As promising a start as that was, Corbijn seems to have found a pace and tone that he is not only comfortable with but that he finishes by owning as a distinct style by the close of the film. He manages to maintain a subtly captivating sense of suspense and intrigue despite the fact that very little is actually happening on screen. Jack spends most of his time assembling a weapon for a kill and fighting his desire for a local prostitute (Violante Placido). Still, the real threat that comes with the territory of wanting to end your career as an assassin is forever looming over everything.
Clooney is THE AMERICAN. In fact, he is the only American actor in this whole picture, which only further serves to separate him from his surroundings. Clooney stands out because he chooses to embrace his position as an aging actor, one who is faced with wanting more from life than he has come to know and expect. Jack is no different. He is torn between his American drive to be the best and his human need to retire his crown in the name of deeper ideals. When it comes to depth, America is not always on its strongest legs but fortunately for this American, he’s got some very solid direction from a talented Dutch filmmaker to back him up.

One Comment

  1. I love the work of both Clooney and Corbijn here. I think their talents combine in a very effective way. I just wish that the story would have ended in a more original and unpredictable way. The climax didn’t pack enough surprises in my opinion.

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