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The American [Blu-ray + DVD]

George Clooney , Violante Placido , Anton Corbijn    Unrated   Blu-ray
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 46.99
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Amazon.ca

Control's Anton Corbijn gives the crime film a distinctly European twist in this understated thriller (think The Day of the Jackal). A trim George Clooney plays Jack, a hit man who relocates from Sweden to Italy after assailants try to take his life. Jack's handler (Johan Leysen) advises him not to make any friends, which proves easier said than done. Ensconced in medieval Abruzzo, the assassin passes himself off as a photographer (in Martin Booth's novel, A Very Private Gentleman, he claimed to be an illustrator), but he's actually customizing an assault rifle for Mathilde (Thekla Reuten), his female counterpart. Upon his excursions through town, Jack meets Father Benedetto (Paolo Bonacelli), who senses he has something to confess--"A priest sees everything," he explains--but Jack would prefer to share a brandy. He also befriends Clara, a prostitute (Violante Placido, perfectly comfortable with onscreen nudity). What starts out as a sexual relationship deepens as Jack's sensitive side--he has a thing for butterflies--emerges, but then the Swedes discover his hiding place, and Jack develops doubts about his lady friends, leading to a showdown that plays like a scene from an old Western, a debt Corbijn acknowledges when Jack chances upon a broadcast of Once upon a Time in the West. If the conclusion doesn't cut as deep as the director intends, his admirable restraint throughout keeps the tension at a low boil, while Clooney tamps down his charisma to play a dogged professional with redemption on his mind. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Bon produit et bon services March 18 2014
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
Le films est bon et le service aussi. S'est pas un des meilleurs films de Geoge Cloney, mais il est bon
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Blu-ray
If you're expecting this film to be an action-packed thrill-a-minute ride about assassins in Europe, turn away. This film is anything but.

The American is like a short film, in that it doesn't explain anything other than what occurs in front of you. Anything about George Clooney's past is completely hidden from us aside from the first 2 minutes of the film. There is no explanation for why anything is happening in the first few minutes, why "Swedes" are after him, or how he came to work for Pavel.

If this is a problem for you, this is not your film. It bothers me a bit, but if you can accept that the film isn't working conventionally, its a marvel to watch.

The film develops at its own pace, taking its sweet time. It is masterfully crafted in the vein of Le Samourai, by Melville. Its protagonist isn't one for talking or communication at all, he is silent and pensive. The movie itself reflects this, meditatively examining the isolation and solitude that he has perhaps forced himself into.

It is beautifully shot, and in 1080p the Italian countryside looks lush and stunning. The details here are very well etched. The sound is fine, presenting no problems to the film. The shipment arrived quickly, within 2 days of ordering, and no real issues except for a strange tear on the spine of the packaging. Aside from this, the blu-ray content and quality is almost perfect - showcases the power of blu-ray quite well. It's a little light on supplements (a commentary with the director and a few making-of featurettes), but it's worth it.

I recommend this film to anyone with a lot, and I mean a LOT of patience. It is a great film solely because it exists within itself, not within a timeframe. It is momentary, contemplative, and sombre. It's European Art-House cinema. If that's not your thing, I can't recommend this.

But for anyone who appreciates the medium, it's an interesting film to watch. Check it out.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An American Assassin in Italy Feb. 26 2011
By Quexos
Format:Blu-ray
Anton Corbijn, who gained fame as a photographer and music video director, crafted a stark and intimate biography of Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis in Control, his first feature. Now, in a masterwork of minimalism, he takes George Clooney through the rustic Italian countryside, where he is laying low after an attempt on his life in Sweden. Clooney is Jack (or Edward, or neither), a gun runner- and probable assassin- who gradually realizes he wants something more from his life of shadows and mistrust after coming in contact with a well-meaning preacher and sympathetic prostitute (with whom he falls in love). Jack's cold mental and physical isolation is reflected through the small populace of the village he frequents as well as the serenity of nearby woods...and Clooney is compelling as an amoral (at best) mercenary grappling with the growth of his heart, if not his conscience. Corbijn has managed to update and transplant Jean-Pierre Melville's existential Le Samourai from France to Italy, and it clicks.
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3.0 out of 5 stars a thoughtful character study March 27 2011
By falcon TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Blu-ray
some people may find this film slow.granted,it's not action packed.but it's not intended to be.i think it's more of a character study than anything else.George Clooney plays an assassin living abroad who agrees to one last job,and then wants out of the business for good.the film deals with his internal conflict,and shows what a lonely sad existence the character has.it's a bleak existence,to be sure.the pacing is very deliberate,but the film isn't what i would call boring.it is well acted and well directed.the tone of the movie matches the existence of the main character.if you don't have a lot of patience,this movie is not for you.otherwise,id say,give it a try.for me,The American is a 3/5
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