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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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Top Customer Reviews
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.
Played by George Clooney, the film presents us with a cold hearted individual who is very proficient at killing. A man that is totally one dimensional, he exists without any meaning or purpose. He is the embodiment of a nihilistic existence. The film begins with a scene which seems to imply that the character is a sociopath, yet as the film progresses, we see that he is indeed a man with a conscience who has chosen a path of evil.
The action in the film is mainly due to the fact that another criminal organization wants to kill this hitman, either for reasons of retribution or some kind of debt. Their incompetence seems to make the Clooney character probably more adept at survival than he really is, but again this is all peripheral to the nature of this film. This is not an action thriller, but the story of an evil man attempting to find redemption and meaning in his life.
The hitman meets two people in an isolated Italian village which seem to spur some kind of personal examination of his existence. The first is an old Italian priest that seems to take an interest in his salvation upon meeting him, and a prostitute he was frequenting in the village who falls in love with him. The film explores how love is so difficult to achieve for this man, largely due to his inability to trust, which in many ways has been keeping him alive in a treacherous business. Nevertheless, he decides to reach out for it, and get out of the killing business beginning with a refusal to complete his latest assignment.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Quiet assassination movie. Good acting, good story. A good addition to your DVD. It's a keeper.Published 13 months ago by honest joe
Being a movie collector I shop for great movies and am excited to be able to own this one and watch it.Published on May 30 2013 by Sharon Johnson