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The American
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Reviews & Ratings for
The American More at IMDbPro »

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12 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

Missing the essence

4/10
Author: mefisto222 from Berlin, Germany
1 February 2011

I can imagine that the novel A Very Private Gentleman by Martin Booth is a very fine book. However, its adaption as "The American" is somehow disappointing for me. It is netiher a personal story nor a decent thriller movie.

I do not think that the movie is boring or too slow. The story (although many times written/shot in a similar way before) is a quite decent story offering a space for interesting details. These fine details are exectly the essence what I have missed in the movie. Apart from the assembling the rifle, there are just few sequences going into deep. For instance, the dinner at the fine restaurant offered a great stage for the development of the persons. Thus, the movie just scratches on the surface or is just a show of the clichés (the priest, etc.) In addtion, the movie has several inconsistencies: e.g. shooting scene the night with dead Vespa driver and the Swedish assassin... If such accidents happen in a such small town, many of Carrabinieri would be involved. Or why is Clooney just waiting what will happen instead of searching for the Swedish connection? Therefore is the movie rather a disappointment for me. 4 points for the location, decent performance of Clooney and Placido and a fine cinematography.

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17 out of 29 people found the following review useful:

Don't waste your time

1/10
Author: timberwolf27-947-890981
10 January 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

My wife and I watched this movie last night. Well, actually I did. After 20 minutes of nothing, my wife gave up on it and went to bed. I stuck it out and watched the whole thing. Yes, the trailer did lead me to believe that there would be some action in it but between about 40 minutes of filming an econo car driving around a deserted highway, 20 minutes of George doing chin ups and sit-ups and another 10 watching him stand at a phone booth, there was very little to stimulate me. I will say the acting was great for what little there was of a storyline by all parties but the storyline was confusing and the 'action' scenes were poor. George Clooney's salary probably eclipsed the budget of the rest of the movie as there were no special effects, nothing. The whole film made me feel like they were trying to draw out every nothingness scene to make it stretch into enough footage to be called a movie. Like Jack assembling the rifle. Is it necessary to film 15 minutes of him piecing together parts of a gun? Very disappointing and a huge waste of time.

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20 out of 35 people found the following review useful:

Nothing Happens

2/10
Author: jonathanmhoffman from United States
8 February 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I don't necessarily mind when nothing happens in a movie if there's some more profound purpose for it. In fact, someone once described Samuel Beckett's classic play, "Waiting for Godot," as one in which nothing happens--twice. Here, unfortunately, nothing happens for a long, long time, and the screenwriter is hardly Samuel Beckett. Whenever anything DOES happen, you wonder, why did that happen, and who cares anyway? Lots of painstaking, lingering detail over unimportant details, but virtually everything that might matter in the plot or character development is overlooked entirely. The women are attractive, and Clooney shaves after the first scene (oops, I hope I didn't give away a crucial plot twist), but rarely does anything interesting happen, and why should we give a hoot about any of the characters in this movie? Clooney usually chooses his film projects wisely, and so I watched it, but we all have our clinkers in life. This is one of his.

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20 out of 35 people found the following review useful:

A tedious film

3/10
Author: Jim Pinnock from Cyprus
9 January 2011

I was very disappointed with this film as I have always been a fan of George Clooney. The first twenty minutes of the film gave very little of the plot away. Once the plot did start to take shape it was so very simple that I assumed the director was deliberately trying to confuse the audience into thinking that were not intelligent enough to follow the story. This was done by using long periods of silence and shots of Clooney being sad and thoughtful. When there was an occasional bit of action it seemed to have been introduced to wake up the audience. In one scene George Clooney was woken up when he was stalking around the alleyways pursued by another killer; he was listening for the other's footsteps but failed to hear a motor scooter approaching until it nearly knocked him down. I only watched this boring film until the end in the hope that it would either improve or make some amazing revelation to justify the hour and a quarter of total tedium.

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24 out of 43 people found the following review useful:

Disappointing

5/10
Author: paulimiles from Australia
28 October 2010

I have to say this movie started with a bang but went downhill from there. It never gets to the "switching off" or "walking out" stage but the pay off for staying the distance is poor. Clooney is excellent as usual and the supporting cast are solid, but the story just goes nowhere. What appeared at first as a sub plot involving the construction of a specialized gun becomes the whole plot. Apparent subplots involving the priest and the Swedes go nowhere and are left hanging totally unexplained and unconnected.

I lost count of the number of times we saw Clooney walking around the deserted streets at night with the expectation that danger was lurking around the next corner. Each scene ending with him awakening in bed unharmed and ready for the next day. The first once or twice it was okay but after that it became plain boring and a waste of movie time.

Overall the movie was a bit like setting out on a road trip from New York to L.A but getting off in New Jersey.

Good intentions but poor delivery. 5/10 at best

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10 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

Clooney - enigmatic and unappealing

5/10
Author: ken_bethell from Spain
29 October 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The only thing missing from this film was the music of Ennio Morricone such was the deliberate attempt to recreate a Serge Leone-style modern thriller in which George Clooney takes on the role of our mysterious and enigmatic stranger. The problem is that those old Spaghetti westerns made up for their lack of intelligent dialogue with blazing action and high body counts which were performed with a certain panache. The same however could not be said of this film.

The action scenes are few and any notions we may have harboured of a romantic hero are quickly dispelled in the opening sequence.Clooney's script could have been written on the back of a calling card and in fact if the film had stayed in the Italian language that it frequently switched into I doubt whether anybody would have noticed. Movie directors make a big mistake when they fail to create at least one leading character in a film that is not likable or who cannot be empathised with.If you don't care, as in this instance, whether Clooney lives or dies the film becomes a pointless and futile exercise. For a such a charismatic actor this was a strange part for Clooney.That it went to Box Office No.1 was due to his lasting appeal and not the film's qualities.

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12 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

All the way to the end.... no dice

4/10
Author: sadgwebbregister from United States
31 January 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Even with charismatic acting and very beautifully shot Italian backdrops, in the end, at the center of this movie is an unsympathetic character who shows he'll do anything, including killing innocents, to protect himself.

Some reviews have pointed out how long this movie is (my wife, who usually stays to the very end-quit halfway through). Others complain, for professionals, how little they seem to know about their weapons (and reviewers are correct). Still, I hung out the very end, waiting for a change of heart or revelation that would make me care about Clooney. No such luck. In the end, I'm barely satisfied with the ending because any of Clooney's victims could have been innocent, honest, good people.

I'm left with what other negative reviews have said-why did I sit through such a long movie? Most complain there should have been more action. I just wished there would have been some plot that justified all the time I sat in the chair hoping for a good story that never materializes.

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13 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

Inexcusable Lack of Research--Amateur Screenwriter

4/10
Author: KSigurdson from Portland, OR
7 February 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I am not a gun buff, but I know enough off the top of my head to feel cheated by the cheesy writing in this film. You don't measure the speed of a bullet in "miles per hour," and if the main character, who is supposed to be an expert at building improvised weapons, salvages all of his parts in a mechanic's garage to build a suppressor, then at least go to some effort to make the final product look different from a stock suppressor ordered from Gunsamerica.com.

In today's age when writers have access to the Internet and can pull up Chuck Hawk's Trajectory charts at the push of a button with a few keywords, then there is really no excuse for amateurish loose ends.

Oh, and another thing: it's a little more forgivable that the main character is shooting 380 caliber bullets which make all of his opponents drop instantly upon impact, but even that is fairly cheesy. This is a not a James Bond flick, after all. He should have at least been shooting a 9mm, instead of that very stylish but very underwhelming Walther PPK. In real life, that pea shooter would just enrage an assassin, unless all three shots were to the head or the heart (an object roughly the size of a man's fist) and the chances of shooting with that sort of accuracy at the range depicted in the beginning of the film is nigh impossible. Granted, three shots from a 380 will eventually kill a man, but very rarely instantly, especially at that range, and not when his adrenaline is pumping.

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14 out of 24 people found the following review useful:

Movie was promoted as action, claimed to be brilliant..but was really garbage. Slow, screen saver like trash

1/10
Author: rwtaylor78 from Canada
10 January 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The next time I go to watch a movie I think I'll sneak in if I'm not too sure about it. I went to see this movie thinking "WOW an action movie with George Clooney, commercials were great!". Then I sat down and watched it.

The first 5-10 minutes had me absolutely pumped. Then the rest of the movie happened.

The guy goes to Italy to make a rifle for some other assassin, gets paid a lot of cash and bangs a hooker who he falls in love with. That's about it. There were so many side stories that this movie could have went into but didn't, which rendered it long, drawn out and exclusively boring.

The area it was shot in was gorgeous, the panoramas were breathtaking, the piano was magnificent. But then they repeated it over and over and over. And over.

People claim this movie is a thinking mans movie, but I can tell you no, no it really isn't. It's a movie made for pretentious idiots who can pat themselves on the back for pretending to understand how deep George Clooney was while playing his character, how refined this and that was. Nope...it wasn't any of that.

It was a sad attempt to emulate other great movies but it left out a few things : Content, research and entertainment. For me it felt like a string of Windows screen savers in HD mixed in with a few upper crust cologne commercials that you see around Christmas. That's about it.

Honestly, this guy is a weapon-smith for world class assassins? Serious? I'm in the military, my uncle is a weapons tech and we laughed at this guy's ability to make a garbage rifle. A simple M16 with some modifications could have easily fit the bill and have been 2% of the cost.

Movie would have been better if, instead of showing Clooney's face thinking about whatever with pianos in the background 100 times, it did a flashback to previous jobs or his life before hand and whatever lead him to this point, or developed a plot wherein he had to protect the hooker from some crazy john who happened to be a killer, or the guy who gave Clooney his work sent in a team instead of some lame woman who proved to be about as adept as Kramer.

But honestly, when I rate movies that are bad and warn people to stay away from them this is one of them, the other is an accidental rental of a movie called Darkness Falls which was from Europe and was about some guy holding a couple hostage with a knife talking about their lives.

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31 out of 58 people found the following review useful:

I miss Jean Pierre Melville

4/10
Author: roastmary-1 (torianrose.usa@gmail.com) from United States
12 September 2010

The stillness of the film reminded me that the director, Anton Corbijn, was a still's photographer - what a coincidence - Here, the proceedings are enormously self-conscious, therefore the pacing becomes a minus instead of a plus. I like George Clooney but here he's in every frame and I kept longing for the Alain Delon of Jean Pierre Melville's "Le Samourai" Here I started to get impatient ten minutes into the film, something that never, ever, happened to me with a Melville film. On the plus side, the locations are breathtaking, like in "Eat Pray Love" but with a darker mood and a more "artistic" intention but stunning none the less. Violante Placido (daughter of Michele Placido) gives us an astonishing full frontal seconds after her appearance on the screen. I was already familiar with her spectacular forms for a film in which she was directed by her daddy. I think Anton Corbijn, is a talented director to be followed, at least until his next film. Then let's see what happens.

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