The American takes its time to tell the tale of a semi-retired assassin who only wants to be left alone to live out his days in relative happiness. It’s a slow but carefully crafted story that gives the viewer time to appreciate the characters and the scenic Italian countryside.
Don’t let the fact that George Clooney has top billing, this is not a Jason Bourne, epileptic thriller. It’s a character focussed tale, a parable that begs us to take stock of our lives.
Clooney plays the role of Jack, an assassin who forgot the golden rule of never allowing people to get close to him. Who can blame him really, after a life of either killing people, or building guns to allow other people to kill people, he’s probably earned the right to live out his live in a remote cabin with a naked chic on his bed.
But of course, actions have consequences, and it seems that some one from Jack’s past desperately wants him dead.
Moving to a remote Italian town, Jack soon makes some unintentional friends and begins to rekindle his humanity – though he is only too aware of his life of sin – though a friendship with the local priest and a local prostitute.
But Jack has one last job to fulfill before he can retire. This final job sees him not as the killer, but as a gunsmith producing a weapon for another assassin.
The American is a subtly stylised tale that uses it’s steady pace to good effect, throwing in a couple of memorable action pieces to keep the pace fluid. Clooney seems to be in his element producing a convincing character in Jack, one that is easily relatable. The supporting cast rounds off the film nicely, with a tale that may not be original but is one of the most rewarding journeys you’ll likely to experience on DVD this year.
Reviewed by: Jonathan Read