George Clooney is The American hiding from inept Swedish assassins in Italy, home of the most wonderful hills we’ve seen in movies this year, courtesy of Italian actress Violante Placido. Oh yes, if you’re a big Clooney fan, you may have to make up your own ending.
One Word Movie Review: Okay
The American is George Clooney moodily wandering the cobblestones in this Ingmar Bergman-esque spaghetti western assassin retirement film. Set in Sweden and Italy’s hilltop villages of Castelvecchio, Castel Del Monte and Sulmona, the story of George’s last few days on the job as a hired killer/gunsmith is told in loving facial close-up, birds-eye panoramas and short focus windows and mirrors which, no doubt, attempt to show the troubled soul of a man who kills for money but to whom we should care about. We need these “artsy” camera shots because there is precious little dialogue to explain what the hell is going on.
The American is very European-style storytelling. There is a car/scooter chase, full-frontal female nudity (sorry, no shots of Clooney’s aging butt but plenty of Violante Placido’s marvelous Italian “hills”) and homage to Sergio Leone’s One Upon a Time in the West and Fred Zinnemann’s Day of the Jackal.
If you like Italian hill towns, people ordering coffee a lot and dark strolls through empty cobbled streets, then this is a perfect movie for you. This is a character study of a killer at the end of his career, a moody piece of film-making more concerned with style than substance. These are not bad things, but be warned before you buy your ticket. This is not a Bourne Identity clone by any stretch of the European scenery.