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#6. The American - Review

The American Poster (2010)I am kind of surprised a studio, even as small as Focus Features, gave the go-ahead for a film like The American. You see; this film was made for adults. It is a mature film, dealing with complex themes and emotions children (and sadly many adults it seems) just can’t comprehend, let alone appreciate. I am not interested in arguing with critic’s reviews for this film, although I do feel many of them are wrong.

This film is confident enough to take its time, give the viewer a moment not only to admire the detailed minutia layered within each scene, but revel in the director’s (Anton Corbijn) decision to let me work certain things out for myself. George Clooney plays a guy that sometimes goes by Jack, other times Edward, and the very privileged endearingly call him Mr. Butterfly. This man of many names is also a man of many specialties, all of which have him employing his hands, and most end with a death. Jack (or is it Edward?) spends the majority of the film in a small village in Italy assembling a specialized sniper rifle from scratch. I won’t say for who, or why they want it, or even why he is in Italy. What I do want to iterate though is how close to perfection I feel this movie is. It is as efficient and perfectly assembled as the rifle we see being constructed on screen. Each scene has purpose, and every moment is perfectly balanced to fit within the story. The setting is beautiful, and cinematographer Martin Ruhe did a commendable job of finding a medium between taking breathtakingly gorgeous footage, without allowing the scenery to ever steal focus or distract.

George Clooney in The American (2010)The man we see on screen is realizing the hard way he may not be comfortable with the life he has created. His is a world of secrecy and calm, with moments of complete hysteria and panic and blood. He is tired, but not weak, and has given up much but perhaps has not lost everything. He has something to give, to someone. Love perhaps, but he may be content with just sharing a quiet evening with someone, anyone that he could trust long enough to relax, if only for that one night.

If you can’t already tell I love this film. It’s as methodical and as disciplined as its protagonist, and if you are capable, it can honestly get you excited for Hollywood films again. Studios are still capable of making a mature cinematic experience for adults. 

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Reader Comments (2)

Another excellent review. Thoughtful, informed, but does leave me wondering something. Why would you go see this show when The Machete was likely playing right next door?

Btw, I refrained from comment on your review of Up Syndrome. You know re-tards make me nervous.

September 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDaddyo

Hmm I'll be seeing this while it's in theaters, after all. Thanks for the insight, Brandon!

September 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterScraps

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