The American is a quiet thriller

The American Alliance/Focus Rating: 14A 103 minutes

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In The American George Clooney plays a professional hit man hiding out in Italy and preparing a special rifle for an assassination job. Moviegoers either really like it or find it boring.

Clooney plays a very mysterious but cold-blooded character. Someone is out to kill him, as we know from the opening scenes in a wintry Sweden when he takes out two men trying to shoot him, not to mention the lovely Swedish lady he’s just shared a bed with. He’s quiet, suspicious, careful; trusting his instincts and nearly always right.

While hiding out in an Abruzzi village in Italy he meets a lovely female assassin (Thekla Teuton), for whom he is crafting the very special rifle. He also starts a relationship with a local prostitute (Violante Placido), although she seems an unlikely resident of a small Italian town.

But the film is all about Clooney’s character and he is very good, as a cynical and tormented man. However we never learn much about him.

The film is very European-style, not surprising considering the director, Anton Corbijn, is Dutch and most of the cast is Italian. The shootouts are subdued and over quickly. This is not a Jason Bourne actionfest. No big running gun battles or chases and not an explosion in sight. It’s all about character, setting, atmosphere and plot and many will find it slow as the story unwinds to a not surprising ending. This film’s rewards are of the introspective and contemplative kind.

Rating: four deer of five

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Alf Cryderman is a Red Deer freelance writer and old movie buff.

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