The American (2010)

TGM Scale 7.0
Starring George Clooney,

Men Who Stare at Goats to the contrary, Clooney was not messing with goats in this film but he does stare quite a bit…perhaps it is better described as an intense focus. TMG gives this film a solid 7.0 though he is well aware many movie goers found this film way too slow, if not boring.  They have a point.   The American is more of a film student movie. I would compare it to a wine tasting party of rare and exotic wines.  You have to be a real connoisseur of the product.  It doses out reward in very small quantities. You have to savor and dwell on each sip.

Clooney plays a professional assassin on the verge of retirement.  His long time and trusted “boss” would rather kill him that let him retire.  It’s an old plot we have seen countless times before, but rarely do we see a totally new plot in movies.  Remixed old plots are what keeps Hollywood going.  The American simply tried to be much more introspective  than action packed. Suspense and intrigue was around every corner in this film.  Fortunately or unfortunately, when the corner was turned, little to nothing was there.  It was perhaps the sullen message of the lonely and never restful existence  of a real life, international assassin.

Sound, or the lack thereof, played a very real and important role in this film.  There was very little music or background fill or sound effects. There were often times you could breathe right along with Clooney and still hear a pin or a bullet drop.  This film might indeed be nominated  a best sound editing award at Oscar time.  Skill is both in the use of sound, and in conserving its effect.

The scenery and venues of this film in Italy were romantic and if you liked Eat, Pray, Love you probably were hoping Clooney would hook up with Julia Roberts for wine and yoga. This film was fine  drama,  but it does not belong in the action or thriller category. Like certain fine wines, this was a good offering,  but not for everyone.

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