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The American [Blu-ray]

3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
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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

3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A nail biter.......... Sept. 29 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Suspense - intrigue - mystery - passion and crime are at the fore front of this movie about assassins and hunted!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie May 30 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Being a movie collector I shop for great movies and am excited to be able to own this one and watch it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous George as an invisible man Feb. 22 2012
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Martin Booth's A Very Private Gentleman is a great vehicle for GC even if it means changing the nationality of the protagonist. Given GC's star status it was also an odd decision to kill him off. In the book he gets away clean. Aside from that it is a first rate procedural as GC's character makes weapons for hire, and carefully guards his own back from his contacts, his clients, and disgruntled customers. Shot on location in Italy it is always beautiful to look at. The protagonist's affair with two prostitutes is altogether too much of an author's pillow fantasy, but it does not detract too much from the unfolding of events. The village priest, a kind of father confessor, is played by an excellent Italian actor whose accent makes him hard to follow. Recommended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The beauty is in the details of this film Jan. 1 2011
The American (2010) may be a slower paced film than many are expecting when they search out a spy film however the deliberate pace offers rewards to those who are not in so great a need of a thrill-a-minute film.

The plot is somewhat commonplace, a hitman wearies of the job and agrees to do one more assignment and then he finds himself the prey rather than the predator, looking behind every curtain for his would be attacker. Nothing so compelling or original there.

However the film unrolls with top notch casting and performances by even smaller supporting characters and is filmed with really outstanding beautiful cinematography and beautiful use of light and colour even in relatively minor scenes. One of the great stars of this film is the ancient crumbling Italian towns and alleys that are featured so prominently here.

All of this attention to detail results in making what might have been a quite pedestrian movie in a really enjoyable, slow-cooker of a film.
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