By Marc S. Sanders

Director Anton Corbijn must have been terribly bored directing George Clooney in The American. All that his top billed star does is brood. He broods a lot, and sips coffee, reads a paper, drives his car, and constructs an assassin’s rifle for a beautiful woman.

Corbjin’s film opens with Clooney playing a man named Jack (no last name offered) who’s an assassin and about to be a target of Swedish men who share the same interest. It’s a good quiet start for a film, with an eye opening surprise to close it out before advancing the story.

Jack is instructed by his confidant to hide out in a small Italian town where a local priest encourages him to admit his sins. It’s not so easy, however, when Jack is busy bedding a local prostitute and building a dangerous weapon for pay.

I saw the ending coming. Yet, it’s a good ending. Getting there is the challenge. I think this was Clooney’s attempt to echo Matt Damon’s Jason Bourne. Brood, hardly speak, look at unusual people and cars in the vicinity, hide in plain sight without altering your appearance, sip coffee, drive a car, and brood some more. Brooding, however, begets boredom…at least for me it does.

The American drags itself slowly through an hour and forty-five minutes of countless close ups served up by Corbjin. There are so many close ups of Clooney that he obviously needed something to do besides appearing stoic all the time. So, he shifts his chin and bottom jawbone back and forth. I wanted to know if Clooney was chewing gum. That’s about all the film offers me to ponder at times. Is George Clooney chewing gum, or is he chewing his cud? Gotta go with the latter because I didn’t see a pack of gum anywhere within this town.

Yeah! That’s about all there is to say about The American. Corbjin gets some breathtaking shots of the Italian countryside, but I didn’t care about that. All I wanted to know was if George Clooney is a gum chewing assassin, or just an assassin, and because there will likely never be a sequel, I’ll never find out.


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