Movie Review: The American

Starring George Clooney. Everyone else in the cast, the director, etc. is unknown to me; all from Europe?
 
George Clooney has been twice named by People Magazine as the “Sexiest Man Alive” and judging by the ooo’s and ah’s when he hits the red carpet, he certainly can make the ladies swoon. After listening to a group of women wax enthusiastic about Mr. Clooney’s charms, I couldn’t resist chiming in with “That man is so good looking, even I would consider having sex with him… and I’m not even gay!”
 
Nevertheless, George is more than just a pretty face and can deliver a performance. The American certainly gives you a suspenseful drama slash action movie, a cerebral thriller. The movie is a long way from the standard American shoot’em up action film and would be categorized as a bit more of a European artsy fartsy film: lots of style, lots of ambiance, and lots of build-up to the climax. In other words, we have here a film where you won’t be measuring the body count. Unlike The Expendables which dispatched the bad guys by the dozens and dozens, The American attempts to raise the bar and in so doing raise your tensions while waiting for that expected moment of action.
 
Rotten Tomatoes gave it a ranking of 64% and while over their 60 mark for acceptability, the score is not really high enough to recommend the film as a sure fire winner. Why? In the end, I found that I didn’t really care about the characters. Yes, I watched the film; yes, I understood the various members of the cast; yes, I understood what was going on, but I just didn’t have a strong emotional investment in these people. If in the end somebody got in trouble or somebody died… well, who cares? I didn’t.
 
However, one great point is that the visuals were gloriously shot. The small towns in Italy where most of the story took place were quite gorgeous and that aspect of the film I truly enjoyed. Europe has such a charm, such a cachet and The American did stir up some wonderful memories of my own time on the Continent.
 
Personally, I would rate this film as a worthwhile fill-in on a Saturday night when you sit down on your own couch for a mindless popcorn filled evening with your rented DVD or possibly Rogers on Demand. You could fork over full pop at the cinema but be prepared to walk away just a tad unfulfilled. You will more than likely feel in need of a “snack” afterwards. In that regard, one realises that the 3 Bourne films, comparable action/thriller films, were deservedly ranked by Rotten Tomatoes with 82%, 93% and 81% respectively. Quite fulfilling; no “snack” necessary.
 
Click HERE to read more columns by William Belle. 
 
References
 
Rotten Tomatoes: The American: 64%
 
Wikipedia: The American
 
Official Web Site
 
Wikipedia: George Clooney
 
2010-09-13
 
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