Note the above image: with eyebrows raised, George Clooney and his gun dart to the rescue, while the Catholics stand by in sheer terror! I applaud those responsible for the array of deceiving advertisements that feature this exact photo. I, too, was enticed by this gripping shot – though know now, this image captures one of the only exciting moments in the entire film. Based on Martin Booth’s A Very Private Gentlemen, Focus Features presents their latest “suspense thriller”: The American.

Check out the review below…

The Players:

  • Director: Anton Corbijn
  • Screenwriters: Rowan Joffe, Martin Booth
  • Cast: George Clooney, Irina Björklund, Johan Leysen, Paolo Bonacelli, Thekla Reuten
  • Cinematographer: Martin Ruhe
  • Original Music By: Herbert Grönemeyer

The Plot:

Jack (Clooney), a seasoned assassin, is constantly on the move/under attack. After a job in Sweden ends in unexpected disaster (including a bullet to his girlfriend’s skull) Jack retreats to the Italian countryside to work on a more low-key assignment: constructing a weapon for a mysterious contact, Mathilde. Happy to finally reside in a danger-free zone, Jack befriends a local priest and falls in love with a local prostitute (very New Testament!). All seems relatively peaceful at surface level, but is it really possible for Jack to put his precarious existence as an international assassin on hold? Of course not!

The Bad:

  • Pacing: Two words… snooze cruise. The writing confirms that the story should have peaked in multiple places, but the film felt painfully uneventful. The material is there, but was both poorly executed and edited. The whereabouts of Jack’s mission were a little ambiguous (hence, the attempted suspense), but ultimately his objectives were too clandestine to be enjoyed. This coupled with the dragged out shots and slow, awkward cuts reduced any sense of flow – and with “suspense thrillers,” pacing is everything. The movie feels more like a collection of aimless, disjointed scenes than a feature film.
  • Jack: The character of Jack (whom the story is centered around) has very little dialogue, which isn’t always bad – sometimes having a character show us who they are and what they’re up to is far more engaging than having them choke us with declarative statements of self. But this character and Clooney’s performance offers no sense of identity. He barely emotes at all, which one could argue as a character choice – I’ll instead argue it’s a total lack of arc.
  • Boring: Few things actually occur in this film other than weapon construction, sex with a prostitute, and serious espresso drinking.
  • Tone: The dismal color palettes, boring location, and dry score just enhance the overall mundaneness of the film.

The Good:

  • Timeless Hotness: Sexiness doesn’t age for Mr. Clooney – the man is 49 and still making women squeal. Impressive.


The American is one of the worst films of the year. You’d be a fool to waste your money.

Rating: 1/10

The American opens in theaters everywhere September 1st.


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Do you plan on seeing The American this weekend?