American, The (2010)

Rated: R for violence, sexual content and nudity.
Length: 105 minutes
Grade: DFFF=D
Budget: $20 million
Box Office: $71 million (36 U.S., 30 Intl., 5 DVD)

Written by: Rowan Joffe (28 Weeks Later), based on the novel by Martin Booth.
Directed by: Anton Corbijn (First major movie, mostly music videos for Depeche Mode)
Starring: George Clooney
With: Violante Placido, Thekla Reuten, and Paolo Bonacelli

After someone tries to kill him, an expert assassin holes up in a remote Italian town, befriends a priest, and falls in love with a prostitute while waiting for his next job and wondering whom to trust.

This is exactly not what I had been expecting. It’s a non-action action movie with a little porn thrown in for what measure I still haven’t figured out. Told at the pace of the Ghost Writer (read, slow) and with the action content of The Limits of Control (read, none whatsoever), this is just plain awful. I supposed some critic is going to say that this is probably a good approximation of what the sad, slow, mundane life of an actual assassin would be like. But I don’t watch movies for reality, do I? And I certainly don’t watch action/intrigue/spy type movies for that purpose. The best thing I could say here is that it seems to show the unpleasant reality of such a life as opposed to the glamorization of it usually found in action movies. And I suppose there’s salvation themes here through the priest and the prostitute, both. But even with my interest in good movies, I couldn’t endure this enough to care about those messages. Besides, George Clooney very well knows you can make a good message through illustrating a terrible life without making a terrible movie, as Up in the Air demonstrated. If you want what you’re expecting here, try The Jackal or Day of the Jackal or Grosse Point Blank or Collateral or Replacement Killers or In the Line of Fire or Desperado or La Femme Nikita or Mr. & Mrs. Smith or Knight and Day or The Professional or the Bourne movies or even The Manchurian Candidate. In other words, there’s just no shortage of very good movies in a category this movie fails to honor by its presence.

Overall Grade: D
for disappointing. Plus, there’s one quite long sex scene and enough nudity to make it not worth watching only on that score. I think my wife’s comment was, “Hey, look, another boring movie from Focus Features with a little porn thrown in.”

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