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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I can't even start describing how douchebaggingly stupid this movie is.
It's a crime against humanity.
If I gave a chimpanzee a chance to direct George Clooney and an OK looking Italian actress that can't keep her top on (and in one scene, neither her bottoms, as she reveals her 1960's style bush), even it (the chimpanzee, not the bush) would have created a better movie.
The only good part about the movie was the break. There was a TV ad for a sale which was good to learn about.
But I digress. What a crap film. Seriously. Terrible.
Disclaimer: I don't have anything against chimpanzees. Some of my best friends are chimpanzees.
I had heard various things, mostly bad about this film from friends who
had seen it in the cinema... Dark, boring, long amongst the comments.
Beautiful scenery was also mentioned, and this was probably the only
thing I found to be true. Although I understand why those friends said
it was boring, I found it to be anything but..... The story was very
intricate, and if one didn't pay attention, you would be lost very
quickly, possibly then making it boring as you had missed vital parts
of the story. Cinematography was nothing short of amazing, the
landscapes are just stunning. I found Clooney brilliant, I've always
liked his work, but its a major surprise to see him on something so
European, and not Oceans 100, which is a great film, but nothing like
this. The actresses are just stunning, sexy, and play there parts
beautifully. I loved the mixing of Italian and English, although it
must be said, on a small screen with average sound, it was sometimes
hard to understand what was being said. Not the the films fault of
I think this is one the greatest Art House type films I've seen, probably in the same category as Lost in Translation and I should say, I really don't like watching Art House films..... I cant imagine Clooney doing anything to top this, but would love him to try! I so wish id seen it in the cinema.....
This is not a typical action movie as everyone would expect. This is
for people who want see the "story" instead of a celebrity with a gun
and nude girls around him.
There are few of scenes where the story is told silently thru the camera. Dialogues are short and to the point, very little background music, and lot of quietness to explain the scenes. There are two beautiful women but no erotic scenes and they fit in their characters very well.
The plot is unclear, but it doesn't matter. Watch this movie if you like photography, you will love it. Watching this movie alone on a big screen would be a blissful experience. (10/10)
There's a scene where George Clooney is in a café in a sleepy Italian
town, watching Sergio Leone's 'Once Upon a Time in the West'. That film
was noted for its deliberately slow pacing and fixed close-ups, which
allowed tension to mount and characters to convey maximum expression.
That's exactly what Dutch director, Anton Corbijn aims for but only
seldom pulls off.
For a guy who started out directing U2 and Depeche Mode music videos, Corbijn has come a long way. In 2007 he released his successful debut film, 'Control', about the ephemeral lead singer of Manchester's Joy Division. Three years on, he's teamed up with Clooney for this portrait of an ageing assassin in someone else's sniper scope.
Gloom replaces glamour in Clooney's hit-man. He decides to retire not because he is that age, but because he no longer possesses a killer instinct. He has lost his edge. At better moments, Clooney reminded me of Steve McQueen: cool and contemplative, but mostly he is expressionless. There is a fine line. Clooney is much more suited to intelligent conversational parts ('The Men Who Stare at Goats', 'Up in the Air').
There are flaws in this film. It's a leap of faith to believe that a brothel could exist in a pious community of only 100 or so, but the real con is that the girls are like supermodels (probably there for Clooney's convenience).
The scene where Clooney obtains information for his final job (he has to assemble a bespoke rifle) reminds me of 1973's 'Day of the Jackal', with Edward Fox. (I'm resorting to film comparisons because that's my conclusion: Corbijn has borrowed so much from other sources that his film fails to have its own identity.)
All of this is not to say that the film is egregiously made. It's a character study. And like many character studies, the film risks dividing audiences into those who are patient and prefer interpreting characters' motives, and those who favour the more direct approach. I'm counting this one as being off-target. Let's hope they aim straighter next time.
If you have to ask what the point of this movie is, then go watch
Transformers II. There are no explosions, only one low-key car chase
(and they could have done without it), and no one saves the world.
The American is a taut, tense, psychological thriller. Those who find people fascinating will enjoy this movie. What is his name, Jack or Edward? Where does he come from? How did he get in this line of work? Figure it out for yourselves.
It's beautifully filmed. Italy has never looked better. There are no wasted scenes and certainly no wasted dialogue.
The American is a classic.
First of all, let me begin by saying that if you are going to see The
American expecting big explosions, big shootouts, and over the top
action you will be sorely disappointed. This is not what The American
delivers. Many critics have derided this movie, which makes me wonder
what they're doing reviewing movies. Perhaps the problem is that this
is not a "movie", instead it is true cinema. The shootouts are quick,
for the most part over before you know it. The soundtrack is extremely
understated, we hear more footsteps, doors opening and closing, and
coffee cups clinking than we do music. But what we do hear, a slight
and methodical piano playing and at most a momentary symphonic
crescendo, draws us into The American's world, and makes us fearful of
what may be around the next corner. The characters are a mystery, and
almost all of our questions go unanswered. Most of all, though, the
cinematography is nothing short of masterful.
Whatever The American may lack in inspiration it more than makes up for with the absolutely flawless craftsmanship it exhibits in filmmaking. I found myself in complete awe of this latter point, unwilling to blink, much less go to the bathroom, for fear I may miss another amazing shot or more subtle foreshadowing and intricate character development, another heart pounding walk through small town Italian corridors, or another expressive close up of Clooney making instruments of death at his workman's bench.
The movie follows the story of Clooney, most often referred to as "Mr. Butterfly" because of his unspy-like and highly metaphorical fascination with the creatures. (Think Papillon with Steve McQueen) We see him leave Sweden on a mission whose objective is never divulged to us, and flee to small town Italy, to execute another job we do not see him accept, and whose goal neither we, nor Clooney, care to know. The whole time there is someone on our tail, we must always be looking over our shoulder, wary of the double-cross, and trying to catch a hint of what might be around the next corner, afraid that anyone we care for could be a secret agent or assassin, never able to truly love much less trust, empty, amoral, utterly alone in short, a spy. It is in drawing us into this world that the movie is nothing short of stellar. Will Clooney be able to escape this world of intrigue and finally find some happiness, some peace, some real human emotion?
Rating = A-
Review by SkyMoney - VideoGameHollywood.com
Article By: Sam LeGassick Twitter: LG45 <- Please follow! Website:
Dutch music video director Anton Corbijn returns from the success of his first full length feature 'Control' with a take on the novel 'A Very Private Gentleman' starring George Clooney as a gunmaker hiding out in an Italian village. Is this 'thoughtful thriller', as Corbijn puts it, another Jason Bourne? Definitely not ...
Let's start by saying that this film isn't the action blockbuster that Focus have made it out to be. Instead it's a slow, reflective piece that works almost like a serious Lost In Translation, which can only be a good thing right? Well, not really.
Clooney plays Jack, a man who right from the first shot of him sipping on a drink while his girlfriend puts her arms around him from behind, while he stares emotionless into the middle distance, looks dead inside. He's completely detached from the world and after getting found by his enemies (why they are after him in the first place we never find out) he has to leave to set up shop again in a small Italian village. Whilst he is there he makes friends with the local priest and falls in love with a local prostitute and soon wants out of the game. That's the whole film, apart from the opening action, a small chase scene halfway through and the end, that's all the action you're going to get. Boring? Well, yes and no.
What Corbijn has done here is taken Clooney's paranoia and brought us into it. Through the score, the shots, the look and the general silence (it feels like hardly a word is uttered throughout the film), we start questioning what's around the corner, if anyone can ever be trusted and a mere shadow makes us just as tense as Jack. The way this feeling of suspense effortlessly glides from character to the audience is a masterful stroke in itself, but with all the suspense in the world even the master himself Hitchcock knew you have to give the audience a pay off, and The American just doesn't do it enough. It might build things up, but the audience's confidence in Jack means that there's no situation we feel he cannot control and so the tension can only work to a certain degree. However, the constant turning of one's head and lack of trust is an important concept that you can imagine all these spy thriller heroes would have to go through. It looks lonely and exhausting and, as we know from the off, Jack is no hero either.
It's also interesting how it's called The American. His lack of trust and paranoia is something that could be said of the country's social mentality post 9/11, but also how he feels isolated outside of his natural habitat - as if America feels cut off from the rest of the world and how, in some ways, it is. I don't think it's just by chance that he deals arms and is ex-military either. I'd also argue that the whole world he's living in is his own Hell, which is even suggested by the priest at one point. There's a lot of talk of religion, of cleansing sins, of hope and despair and the ultimate trial of opening up to someone and falling in love. All the while he's making deals with the devil for monetary gain and has, in theory, sold his soul.
It's a film that is more about what's not being said than by what is. Little looks, turns of heads and the use of light indicate a director who knows exactly what he wants and the framing and cinematography in general is beautiful. Every shot is like a perfect picture and cannot be faulted, you can see why this man is one of the best photographers out there. However, I can't help but feel that this should have been an art-house film with perhaps an unknown in the lead. Not that there's anything wrong with Clooney, in fact all the acting in this is superb, but the expectation of this being a Clooney spy thriller means that it becomes a disappointment for a lot of people. It's a slow-paced, suggestive tale of one man trying to reach out to others and would have been better off without being touched by Hollywood. Had this have been advertised as a slow, emotive, indie art-house foreign flick (whatever that means anymore) I would have liked it more. As it is, it feels like a pretentious, yet beautiful, sequence of images that is more about scoring credibility for all involved rather than entertaining the audience. If people say they loved it, it's more likely because they feel they have to. It's a good, quiet, sombre film that jogs along and keeps you guessing, but essentially it was a bit boring.
George Clooney is "The American", an assassin, hiding out in Italy.
That, and his love of prostitutes, are pretty much all we know about
him. It turns out to be an interesting mix between a character study
and a thriller.
Directed by Anton Corbijn, this film is visually stunning. The expansive shots of the Italian villages and country side are spectacular. But I was beginning to assume that that was all the film was going to offer me. The excessive nudity and sex scenes were uncomfortable, and I didn't think there was any real emotion to anything about Clooney's character. Slowly, though, I was absorbed into the thoughts of the characters. The adeptness with which he subtly developed them, almost imperceptibly, is quite impressive.
I was frustrated by how long it took for there to be revelations into the minds of the characters. But once I found things to hang onto, I was consumed by the direction "The American" would take me. It took the road less traveled by, And that has made all the difference. (A film so poetic in its telling deserves a vintage poetry reference).
OK, I have no idea who is writing this 9-10 star reviews here, but I
would not be surprised if they were all fake. By which standards can
this 2 hours of utter boredom be considered a great film?! No,
Can a film without a logical story, bad unbelievable and shallow characters (which are portrayed in the most stereotypical fashion possible- beautiful hooker, fat cheating Italian priest, hunky assassin, ugly assassin's boss) and terribly long pointless scenes even considered a proper film? Call me old fashioned, but I want to see a story, not some BS that someone thinks is art.
If you are a film maker your priority should be trying to tell us something about the characters. This film just showed us lots of extremely slow and pretentious "artsy" scenes that did not tell us absolutely anything. We do not learn about who is the assassin Clooney plays, what he thinks or what is he doing in fact. Only thing that happens is that we see this so called "assassin" doing mundane everyday tasks that the viewer can not relate to (putting together a machine gun ?!) or does not understand (who kills who in the end and why?).
The only thing I could understand in the film was that the main character was obviously unhappy and was looking to retire as a pro. But to make a film about someone being unhappy without any explanation or hints why it may be, now come on.... The director obviously thought that he could fool us by trying to wrap up this terrible excuse for a film as artistic exploration of human sole, but this was nothing of this sort...
Simply a very dull shallow waste of time and definitely not worth the 7£ I paid for it.
This has got to be one of the most awful pretentious movies i've ever
seen. Not only does nothing actually happen during the movie in terms
of plot progression, and trust me nothing happens, but it fails at what
it tries to do most, be different. For me it was trying to be something
like In Bruges, an unbelievable movie, but failed in terms that it
couldn't solidify itself as either a thriller or a drama. It got to the
stage where people were literally walking out in a fit of rage. A vague
summary of the movie would be a whole lot of meaningless and confused
buildup, into nothing.
This is my first review on IMDb because I felt so strongly about this one. Avoid.
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