The American (Anton Corbijn – 2010) A-

The story here is fairly predictable but at the same time has a certain originality to it. George Clooney plays Jack, an American assassin sent to a remote but beautiful Italian village in Abruzzo to hide out after an attempt on his life and await for instructions. It is never clear to me why he is in hiding, but it doesn’t matter. He kills people for a living, so I’m sure a lot of people want him dead for one reason or another.

The film really is not concerned with that on any case. What it did do very well is give Jack time to possibly reflect on his choices. He is ruthless, maybe soulless as we saw in his last mission that went horribly bad during the beginning of the movie. Here in Abruzzo he finds a confidant in the fatherly Catholic priest he befriends. I really enjoyed their conversations that border on arguments as the priest attempts to dig deeper into Jack’s soul and Jack hits right back at him. We spend a lot of time with Jack while he builds a specific rifle for another assassin. He is filled with doubt and fear and constantly on edge. Gradually we also see his humanity and trust in people start to come to the surface as he falls in love seemingly against his will. The film is not a thriller by any stretch. It is plenty brooding, tragic and at times very tender. The director gives some wonderful shots from interesting camera angles of the wonderful location while we get to know Jack and begin to care for him. It’s a solid movie, one that I seem to keep thinking about.

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