The American [Blu-ray + DVD]
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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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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.
Video codec: VC-1
Video resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: 2.35:1
Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
French: DTS 5.1
Spanish: DTS 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Rated R for nudity and sexuality.
Directed by Anton Corbijn
Starring George Clooney, Violante Placido, Paolo Bonacelli, Thekla Reuten
Anton Corbijn usually directs music videos and used to work as a photographer for the New Musical Express. He started that job because he loved the music of Joy Division which led to his first proper film in 2007, Control. It dealt with the life of lead singer Ian Curtis. This is his first feature that has nothing to do with music.
It's not what the average viewer would expect.
The American is about Jack (Clooney), who kills people for a living. In the first few minutes, we see him in action as people try to kill him in Sweden. He relocates to Italy for what he says will be his last job.
One of Jack's "weaknesses" is that he forms friendships instead of staying aloof while he is working on a hit.
This is not an action movie. There are two or three brief action sequences, but that's not the point of this movie. If you're looking for another Bourne movie or Taken, look elsewhere. The American is a more contemplative look at the life of a killer. We see extended sequences with no dialogue and Clooney is shown thinking. We see his paranoia and get an idea of what it would be like to be in his shoes.
Despite the warnings of his boss, Jack makes friends in Italy. Will they lead to his eventual death?Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Le films est bon et le service aussi. S'est pas un des meilleurs films de Geoge Cloney, mais il est bonPublished on March 18 2014 by Frederic Desilets
This is one of those movies where you watch it and say to yourself it has to get better, it doesn't.
The movie has no plot, it starts nowhere and goes nowhere. Read more