For a summer with great films such as Inception and Toy Story 3, the poor performance of The American came as a surprise. The annoyingly slow-moving plot was topped with static characters and bad performances.
Jack (George Clooney), an American assassin in Europe, is discovered in the back country of Sweden by…. it actually never says who is chasing him or why, but it leads Jack to end up killing his Swedish girlfriend in order to cover his tracks. After contacting his boss, who is never really explained either, he is advised to lay low in the countryside and there is given a job to do.
It is here in the small town that you find the only two characters that have any depth and the only characters you can connect with or care about. One is a prostitute, Clara (Violante Placido), that becomes Jack’s love interest, and the other is the town priest named Father Benedetto (Paulo Bonacelli), who befriends Jack. With the exception of Benedetto and Clara, the characters are very static and boring. This isn’t helped by George Clooney’s poor performance that isn’t believable and gives you a bad taste in the mouth.
The plot has no structure, no exposition and doesn’t take you anywhere. There is no clear antagonist and you leave the theater unfulfilled. In the words of the theatergoer sitting behind me as he yelled at the screen: “I want my money back!”
The American: 4/10