The American is one of those films that just looked and felt European, in both the visual style and the type of story they were telling. Though when a film stars George Clooney you don’t immediately think of European cinema. But when the film is directed by a Dutchman, written by a Britt, based on a book by a Britt, and filmed and based in Sweden and Italy, it’s more likely going to be much more dark and introspective than a typical Hollywood film.
Which, is exactly what this film was. Clooney left behind his usual grinning and charming manner, for a dark and brooding, and almost always very internal man. Yes he shined his trademark smile a couple times, but those were few and far between, as he went through the film clearly in a very dark place. Not the actor himself though, as the behind the scenes of the film showed him joking around like he’s known for even when he’s about to do a serious scene.
The story itself was interesting, if not a little confusing. Because there is almost no subtext explained to what is going on and why, and because of this the audience is often left wondering what the hell is going on. Even more so with some of the actions of the characters, and especially Clooney’s. The ending itself is rife with this, as the ‘other’ killer seems to have been working all along with their final motive which seems kind of convoluted.
It was beautifully shot, and the acting, though a little one dimensional, was solid enough. The writing was fine, and maybe it’s the novel it’s based on that left many things unanswered, but all up I did enjoy the film. It’s not a classic, and won’t go onto live within the top 10 of best Clooney films I feel. But if you’re looking for a slow burn thriller, then The American is a good option.
8 out of 10 from me!!!