The American Movie Review
admovieso | April 6, 2012 | No comments
This is a movie that’s really hard to make sense of. There are all sorts of stories going on but there’s hardly any dialogue and no background story. There’s a priest who likes to save souls, a prostitute hoping to find a guy to get her out of her world, an assassin ready to retire, and a couple of mysterious strangers. This goes on for a while and then none of the rest of the story makes any sense any more sense than the beginning did. Your guess is as good as mine as to why George Clooney would choose this movie.
This box office movie is a failure in the making. If it were a low budget or foreign film “The American” might do okay. Art movie buffs would enjoy all of its odd stares and strangely static situations. But it’s a Focus Features film and it’s being billed as the new “North by Northwest.” To top things off, this upcoming film is coming out Labor Day weekend, a bad time for any movie to arrive in theaters.
Director Anton Corbijn is a UK based, born in The Netherlands, portrait photographer whose first movie, “Control” won all sorts of kudos in 2007. It’s a black and white film about a pop singer. The American is in color but has the aura of a black and white movie. The color is lovely as is the Italian rural areas in which this movie was filmed. But it still feels black and white.
First, the American in question, Jack, is in Sweden. He’s having a romantic few days with a woman named Ingrid in a cabin in the snow. When hunters show up, Jack murders them.
Then Jack is in Rome. His employer is not happy about the murders so he sends Jack to Abruzzo. However, Jack is not happy with Abruzzo and goes to another village. Here he becomes buddies with other members of the movies cast, the local priest, played by Paolo Bonacelli, and a prostitute played by Violante Placido. (Moviegoers will like Placido. She takes her clothes off a lot.) Then he is asked to meet a new client, played by Thekla Reuten, who wants him to make a weapon.
Okay, so you’re confused? It gets better (or worse?) – Jack won’t use a cell phone so he can’t be traced. Yet, all sorts of people show up looking for him in this distant village. And there’s a tattoo of a butterfly on Jack’s back. What does it mean? Nobody ever finds out.
Rowan Joffe is responsible for the screenplay, which is from the novel “A Very Private Gentleman”, written by Martin Booth. It’s hard to tell what genre Joffe is following but “The American” seems to be a thriller.
All in all, “The American” is a ridiculous movie. What WAS George Clooney thinking when he decided to star in this movie on the new movies list?