The American fails to entertain

Matt Muenzberg, Staff writer

Although artsy and interesting, George Clooney’s latest film, “The American,” is not the non-stop action movie that it was built up to be. Instead it is a slow-moving exposé into the mind of an assassin that has flashes of action but never really takes off.

The film takes place in the Italian mountains, and many scenes get introduced with an aerial view the small village the movie takes place. While these are beautiful shots, they are not what make the film memorable.

Clooney plays Jack, an assassin on his last assignment after his last job got a little messy. Although specifically told not to make friends, he gets to know some interesting people, such as a priest (Paolo Bonacelli) and Matilda (Thekla Reuten), a fellow assassin – and consequently gets close to compromising his identity.

Clooney plays his role with the utmost intensity. This and the almost complete lack of score give the film a tension which makes the movie different than most Hollywood blockbusters.

But other than looking impressive, this movie doesn’t have a lot of strong points. When Clara (Violante Placiado), a prostitute turned Jack’s girlfriend says, “You’re a good man, but you have a secret,” one would think that the movie will start to give you answers. Wrong. Almost everything is left unexplained, and viewers are left to figure out Jack’s past and they have nothing to lead to any reasonable conclusion.

Short scenes normally lasting anywhere from two to five minutes in length make up the movie and seem to give the viewers a glimpse of his life, but really don’t shed much light onto what is really going on. For example, in one scene Jack pulls up to a village, looks around, sees that he doesn’t like it, then leaves. Then the screen fades to black in an almost “Napoleon Dynamite” way.

An odd mix of settings scatter this film, making it feel as if in one scene Jack is in the woods having a picnic by a river, then for the next he is in a red-glowing whore house. The scenery changes often, but given the lack of excitement in this film, this keeps the film watchable.