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The American

404 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Academy Award® winner George Clooney is The American in this sexy suspense thriller from director Anton Corbijn. After a job ends more violently than expected, Jack (Clooney) retreats to the Italian countryside and accepts one last assignment to construct a deadly weapon for a mysterious contact. But when he pursues a relationship with a beautiful local woman, he may be tempting fate by stepping out of the shadows. Jack soon finds himself in an escalating battle to escape from his secretive past, in the film critics are calling “4 Stars! Riveting and irresistible!” (Joe Neumaier, NY Daily News)

Control's Anton Corbijn gives the crime film a distinctly European twist in this understated thriller (think The Day of the Jackal). A trim George Clooney plays Jack, a hit man who relocates from Sweden to Italy after assailants try to take his life. Jack's handler (Johan Leysen) advises him not to make any friends, which proves easier said than done. Ensconced in medieval Abruzzo, the assassin passes himself off as a photographer (in Martin Booth's novel, A Very Private Gentleman, he claimed to be an illustrator), but he's actually customizing an assault rifle for Mathilde (Thekla Reuten), his female counterpart. Upon his excursions through town, Jack meets Father Benedetto (Paolo Bonacelli), who senses he has something to confess--"A priest sees everything," he explains--but Jack would prefer to share a brandy. He also befriends Clara, a prostitute (Violante Placido, perfectly comfortable with onscreen nudity). What starts out as a sexual relationship deepens as Jack's sensitive side--he has a thing for butterflies--emerges, but then the Swedes discover his hiding place, and Jack develops doubts about his lady friends, leading to a showdown that plays like a scene from an old Western, a debt Corbijn acknowledges when Jack chances upon a broadcast of Once upon a Time in the West. If the conclusion doesn't cut as deep as the director intends, his admirable restraint throughout keeps the tension at a low boil, while Clooney tamps down his charisma to play a dogged professional with redemption on his mind. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Special Features

  • Deleted Scenes
  • Journey to Redemption: The Making of The American
  • Feature Commentary with Director Anton Corbijn

  • Product Details

    • Actors: George Clooney, Thekla Reuten, Violante Placido, Paolo Bonacelli, Irina Björklund
    • Directors: Anton Corbijn
    • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
    • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
    • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
    • Dubbed: French, Spanish
    • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
    • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
    • Number of discs: 1
    • Rated: R (Restricted)
    • Studio: Focus Features
    • DVD Release Date: December 28, 2010
    • Run Time: 105 minutes
    • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (404 customer reviews)
    • ASIN: B002ZG993Q
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,281 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
    • Learn more about "The American" on IMDb

    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews

    205 of 237 people found the following review helpful By Jason Bean on September 4, 2010
    Format: DVD Verified Purchase
    I find 'The American' a hard sell as a film. It's not an action-thriller like the trailers make it out to be, nor would I call it a character drama or art house piece. I can't see either of these audiences appreciating this film on the level it wants you to. I think that's why I like it so much, there's nothing else like it in theaters (at least not right now).

    'The American' is about cold-blooded professional "Jack" who, after being attacked in Sweden with his girlfriend (which ends violently but not the way you think) is directed by his associate to hide out in a small town in Italy. He ends up friending a priest and a prostitute and takes a job building/modifying a weapon for an assassin. Of course his old enemies catch up to him but the movie chooses more to focus on the main character's slow change from cold-professional to 'maybe' redeemable human being. There's some (very good) action and sex but the story's told in a very leisurely fashion with little dialogue. It's more about what's NOT said between and by characters that gives this movie it's weight and suspense.

    The camera work in this film is stunning, and that's a good thing. With the action and unrevealing dialogue taking a back-seat the movies' long, beautiful shots of Italy really set the movie's mood well and gives the sense of isolation and seeming solitude for it's main character. The slow moving scenes of repetition involving the main character constructing a weapon and the brief word exchanges between the main character and another assassin (a terrific Thekla Reuten) perfectly reflects the mindset the film is in.

    George Clooney took a big risk being cast in this film. It's unconventional and will easily put off his usual fans.
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    96 of 111 people found the following review helpful By DukeD1989 on September 9, 2010
    Format: DVD
    "The American" is a superbly crafted, visually captivating and subtle character driven drama with an incredibly 70's European style and sensibility. Be warned those looking for an action filled generic thriller will be severely disappointed. This is an artful character study about a troubled assassin nearing the end of what we can tell to be a long career. The general tone of the film mirrors that of the characters personality, a tense and emotionally reserved perfectionist. There is not too much emotion through much of the film because like its main character it is hard for him and the film to open up, or let anyone in. This is probably the most suspenseful film I have seen this year. It becomes hard to trust anyone he meets and I found myself becoming just as paranoid as he was at times. The performances were all wonderful, this was the most reserved I have seen Clooney since "Syriana". He played the character with such subtly and depth. I thought the end was fantastic. I felt it was the only fitting conclusion to this story. Although this ending isn't the most original, with the help of Corbijn's meticulous story telling and Clooney's performance I found it to be quite upsetting.

    I can completely understand why some do not like this film but I absolutely loved it. I thought it was so fascinating and so well crafted. It was shot so beautifully and felt so much like it could have been a film by Jean-Pierre Melville. I can easily understand any comparison to "Le Samourai" because they really are very similar. I couldn't disagree more with what a lot of critics have said about this but I can understand that is just isn't for everyone. For me, it is easily the best film I have seen so far this year.
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    25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Shinobi on November 23, 2010
    Format: DVD
    I felt it was necessary to balance the scales a little after reading the many shallow reviews written by others who were duped by the action-movie marketing. No it's not an action movie, but if you grow up a little & see it as a realistic telling of a man's misspent life then you can come to appreciate how well crafted a film it is. It's not a film for testosterone junkies but if you're an intellectual with a colorful past who can appreciate how a man can "grow up" after age 40 & learn to love life- then you might get it. As other smart reviewers have noted- it's not for the teeming mass of recent boot-camp graduates(I'm paraphrasing), but those of us who've left that far behind us will look upon it with knowing eyes. Enjoy it for the good acting & the beautiful locations & the polished idea it presents. You can't escape your past & that's what should be understood from this movie.
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    24 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Sean Curley on September 3, 2010
    Format: DVD
    George Clooney's latest film, directed by a former music video director Anton Corbijn, is a film that demonstrates effective use of star power: it's unlikely this film would have gotten any attention (and it's still unlikely to be anything huge) without the presence of the King of Hollywood. Clooney's been willing to loan out his starpower to low-profile films in the past, and he does so again here. This is a slow-burn story more interested in character interiors than "Bourne Identity"-style action sequences (though it is not devoid of action), one that will probably divide audiences. But if you're interested in that sort of film, this has a lot to recommend. Spoilers follow.

    The film opens with a prologue in snowy Sweden, where Jack (Clooney) is cottage-going. There's a twist here that has been spoiled in some reviews, but is most effective when you don't know about it, so I'll refrain from saying anything. The key is that it sends our assassin title character on a trip to a small Italian town to await his next assignment from his boss, Pavel (Johan Leysen). Soon, a new assignment arrives, in the form of assistance to another assassin (Thekla Reuten), and legacies of his last mission also begin to appear. Whiile there Jack ponders the state of his life, sort-of-befriends a priest (Paolo Bonacelli), and starts to fall in love with a really, really luscious prostitute (Violante Placido).

    It's familiar material, but it's played well. The director knows how to use the camera effectively, positioning it in ways that keep the audience on guard for something about to happen. If I came away with a single impression, it was a strong desire to visit the town in which this was filmed, because it looks stunning.
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