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.
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
Maybe not what you're expecting, but still a good movie.
"And above all, don't make any friends, Jack. You used to know that."
First, a warning. The American is an atypical spy-thriller. If you're wanting to check out an adrenaline-fueled action film, you should check out Salt. The American is a slow- burner, and more of a character study than anything else.
The main character Jack is an assassin and weapons maker who at his heart, is a lonely man. His last engagement was marred by an incident where he had to kill the woman he was involved with, and he's forced to move on to a small town in Italy where he's given another assignment and told to wait. But he finds himself drawn again to another woman, and that complication may turn his employer against him.
Clooney gives a great understated performance as the quiet, complex Jack, and he's joined by a pair of excellent, beautiful female leads in Violante Placido and Thekla Reuten. Their beauty is matched by the beauty of the small Italian towns and countryside where the majority of the movie takes place. The sedate pace of the film gives you time to absorb the mood of the setting, as well as understand the effect it has on Jack.
The American will definitely not appeal to everyone. There are two or three effective action scenes, but at no point is that kind of thing the focus of the movie. Imagine the tone of The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, and you won't be far off the mark.
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