DVD RvReview: The American

An acquaintance of mine went to see this in the cinema and came out calling it ‘The A-meh-rican’. But did I think it was a boring old load of crap like he did? Read below to find out.

The American (four stars)

If the ending of Michael Clayton offered audiences a tantalising glimpse of what it was like to share a taxi ride with George Clooney, then The American goes the whole hog and lets you go on holiday with him. Gorgeous-as-ever George is Jack, an arms specialist told to lie low in Italy for a while after a trip to snowy Sweden goes horribly wrong. So he holes up in the picturesque town of Castel del Monte and, eh, that’s about it. He goes for coffee. He does some press-ups. He visits the local brothel. But what may seem on paper like a one-man stag do becomes a very tense, atypical action thriller in the hands of Control director Anton Corbijn and in the features of its lead actor, whose ageing ruggedness is a good match for the surrounding landscape.

Although one of the few great movie stars left, it’s a very un-Clooney-like performance from Clooney in this adaptation of Martin Booth’s novel, A Very Private Gentleman. Looking more like Cary Grant with every role, he dispenses with his trademark smile and reveals everything with his eyes. The film could easily have been called The Quiet American – there are patches of dialogue here and there but for the most part we are asked to study Jack in his own silence, whether constructing a weapon or sipping an espresso. Corbijn and Clooney make it work, however, and teach us an important lesson along the way: if you’re ever trying to outwit an assassin, always take your shoes off.

This review first appeared in the Metro newspaper


3 Responses to “DVD RvReview: The American”

  1. I liked it as well, although I expect most people to find it boring. Tightly woven, methodical thriller that ends bittersweet.

  2. I really liked this one, too. I could see people being upset because it wasn’t a Bourne Action flick like it looked to be, but I liked the slower, more methodical and suspenseful build of The American.

  3. Great choice for Clooney. One of the better films of the year.

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