“The American,” a spy thriller from Universal Pictures’ Focus Features stars George Clooney as Jack, an assassin who is hiding out in Italy between assignments. His circumstances become more perilous after he is asked to build a weapon for another hit. It is an adaptation of the 1990 novel “A Very Private Gentleman” by Martin Booth. The movie is now available on Blu-Ray and DVD.
The film is beautifully shot throughout Italy and is brilliantly acted by Clooney, Thekla Reuten, Violante Placido, Irina Björklund, and Paolo Bonacelli. The tension between Clooney and Reuten is evident right from the beginning when Jack is given the instructions for the weapon he’s required to build. The sexual attraction between Jack and Clara (Placido) is there, but not as steamy as it could have been. It could be blamed more on the script than the actors, because Placido is attractive, sexual and irresistible.
The movie as a whole lacks any real action sequences (minus the opening and ending) and is an extremely slow mover throughout, but it makes up for it in irony, intelligence and atmosphere. It’s not the type of movie to watch more than once or even in pieces – it’s recommended to take it in one sitting and move on.
When the film was in theatres, it performed well, earning $65 million, but on DVD, the dark themes and art feel of the film make it a long journey to the climax. Clooney has yet to make a horrible film, but The American can’t be considered one of his best.
The DVD contains deleted scenes and a making of feature.