A reporter in Iraq might just have the story of a lifetime when he meets Lyn Cassady, a guy who claims to be a former member of the U.S. Army's New Earth Army, a unit that employs paranormal powers in their missions.
With a job traveling around the country firing people, Ryan Bingham enjoys his life living out of a suitcase, but finds that lifestyle threatened by the presence of a new hire and a potential love interest.
Alone among assassins, Jack is a master craftsman. When a job in Sweden ends more harshly than expected for this American abroad, he vows to his contact Pavel that his next assignment will be his last. Jack reports to the Italian countryside, where he holes up in a small town and relishes being away from death for a spell. The assignment, as specified by a Belgian woman, Mathilde, is in the offing as a weapon is constructed. Surprising himself, Jack seeks out the friendship of local priest Father Benedetto and pursues romance with local woman Clara. But by stepping out of the shadows, Jack may be tempting fate. Written by
This is not a movie that will appeal to everyone, even fans of George Clooney, who is in almost every scene. His famous smile and immense charm are totally absent in a tight, laconic role as the eponymous assassin-cum-gunsmith Jack/Edward/Mr Butterfly. But I really admired this brave departure from the Hollywood dazzle which has a genuinely different pacing plus look and sound.
So if you're expecting a fast-moving, action-packed thriller, forget it. After a dramatic pre-title sequence, there is more than an hour of a quiet, slow build up to the retributive finale. The assassin is determined to do one last job before giving up his nefarious profession, but two women are complicating his intentions: fellow shootist Mathilde, played icily by the Dutch Thekla Reuten, and a local prostitute Clara, the beautiful Italian actress Violante Placido. Which woman will get her man? This is a visually striking work, partly because of the unusual setting in the arid terrain of the Abruzzo region of central Italy and the narrow, cobbled streets of the town of Castel del Monte, partly because of the artistry of Dutch photographer turned director Anton Corbijn and his German cinematographer Martin Ruhe. The sparse script is the work of Rowan Joffe (son of the director Roland Joffe) who has adapted the novel "A Very Private Gentleman" by the British novelist Martin Booth.
Clooney is a great lover of all things Italian and this film - which he co-produced - is obviously a very personal work which is likely to be more enjoyed in Europe than in the States.
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