The American - Film Review



The American - Film Review



The film opens in snowy Sweden. George Clooney, the American, is shacked up with a pretty girl in a remote country lodge. They go out for a walk through the snow and hear shots. ‘Hunters,’ says the unconcerned girl, and she’s right, but who is hunting whom? In the next second the hunter is firing at the happy couple.

   Clooney kills the hunter and sends the girl back to the lodge to call the police, but before she can get there, he shoots her in the back of the head. Then the action moves to Italy, where Clooney sets up home in a remote mountain village where he is befriended by the local aging priest. There are more pretty girls, one a prostitute, the other an assassin, as the plot deepens and twists.

   This is a classy looking movie, but not one without flaws. It is not really explained why and who was killed in Sweden, and indeed there are a lot of loose ends that never seem to get tied up.

   But don’t let that put you off. This is a kind of Nordic heavy murder mystery transferred to Italy with an imported American star to crack the American market. It is based on the novel "A Very Private Gentleman" by Martin Booth. Clooney plays the hired gun, but one who is looking for one final hit before he retires. But retiring from that game is easier said than done, as no one seems to want to see a former hitman living his retirement happily on the outside. Clooney looks like a man with troubles, but then again if you have spent your working life taking other people's lives then that is understandable.

   He broods through the picture; I don’t think he smiles a single time, which I guess is all in aid of the dark nature of the genre.

   All is not dark though for the scenery and camera work are great, the women are truly fab, and Clooney just about gets by, though I was never convinced that he was entirely comfortable in this role.

   There are times when the story drags a bit but those moments are few and far between and the thread is soon back on track and heading toward the climax that is worth waiting for.

   It’s a good film, but not a great one, and if you like European thrillers, and have bought into the whole Nordic thing, then you will probably like this too. I certainly did. If you haven't seen the movie and you'd like a taste here is the official trailer:




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