The American

User Score
6.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 247 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 35 out of 247

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User Reviews

  1. Sep 1, 2010
    9
    Really enjoyed this. The cinematography was outstanding, Clooney did a fantastic job acting, and the story kept me interested, wondering what would happen next to him and everyone involved.
  2. Sep 4, 2010
    7
    Those who were expecting something action packed might be a bit disappointed, but if you're willing to sacrifice high octane action for slow building tension you might find "The American" to be intriguing and interesting enough to sit through.
  3. Dec 21, 2010
    9
    Was very surprised that I came away actually loving this movie. This movie almost make me forget that Clooney ruined Batman (head bobble). I like movies that just tell a story without dumbing it down and adding narration or stupid lines to help explain what is going on. The film focuses on details instead. No subtitles no easy translation, but you still understand and feel what isWas very surprised that I came away actually loving this movie. This movie almost make me forget that Clooney ruined Batman (head bobble). I like movies that just tell a story without dumbing it down and adding narration or stupid lines to help explain what is going on. The film focuses on details instead. No subtitles no easy translation, but you still understand and feel what is going on. It's really not all that complicated anyways. The film is shot beautifully. Maybe it's best when Clooney is given a film with as few lines as this. Scenes with his new "friends" add depth. Even in the most serene and beautiful places danger is lurking. Expand
  4. Nov 24, 2010
    8
    There's an unintended irony in The American's title, an irony that sweetly describes this movie's charm.

    When you think of an American movie these days, you think of a noisy spectacle, entertainment over character, explosions over story. But despite its title, The American is the antithesis of the big Hollywood spectacular. It's a quiet, contemplative film, lyrical in its grey, damp
    There's an unintended irony in The American's title, an irony that sweetly describes this movie's charm.

    When you think of an American movie these days, you think of a noisy spectacle, entertainment over character, explosions over story. But despite its title, The American is the antithesis of the big Hollywood spectacular. It's a quiet, contemplative film, lyrical in its grey, damp beauty and solemn in its business.

    The American is to be enjoyed for how it tells a story, not for the story itself, because the tale is familiar. It's the one about an aging hitman. Need I say more? Yet Dutch director Anton Corbijn finds new touches for his old story. His setting is the Italian medieval town of Castel del Monte, in the Apennine mountains of Italy. It's a postcard setting, crowded tile rooftops hugging each other up a hillside, narrow twisting cobblestone roads zig-zagging up between the old buildings. The cinematography is beautiful. But the light is rarely the golden, the colors rarely those of the picture postcard. Instead it's mostly drizzly, dark, dank and slightly worn. The town's a character every bit as much as George Clooney, who plays the title role with a restraint that matches the weather and the lighting. He's a paid assassin and it's all become too much for this paranoid, deeply introverted loner. Clooney goes the distance without ever cracking a smile. It might have been a dangerously low-energy, one-note performance. But instead it plays as a man who earned a good living by staying under a rain cloud but who finally dares to hope that maybe he's entitled to a little sunshine as well. As I said, the story's a familiar one and the ending's morality is straight out of the Hays code from the 1930's. For my taste, the utterly conventional conclusion is perhaps the film's weakest point. But its strengths overcome that solitary weakness. It has a subdued style, an elegance and beauty not typically associated with movies about assassins. Nor, for that matter, with movies about Americans.
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  5. Jan 2, 2011
    9
    Brilliant and Beautiful. See this movie if you are looking for a thoughtful meditation on the psyche of an assassin who no longer has the desire to work as one. This is the story of a soul seeking something other than what he has, but he does not know what it is he is looking for or how to get it. Rather than this being a violent and dull-witted or depressingly repentant movie, though,Brilliant and Beautiful. See this movie if you are looking for a thoughtful meditation on the psyche of an assassin who no longer has the desire to work as one. This is the story of a soul seeking something other than what he has, but he does not know what it is he is looking for or how to get it. Rather than this being a violent and dull-witted or depressingly repentant movie, though, it is full of life and even hope. There is action in the movie, but the action serves a purpose. Thus, it is not an "action-packed thriller" (like the ad would have the viewer believe), as much as it is a portrait of a human being seeking transformation of a sort - if not of the religious variety, certainly of the spiritual.

    The cinematography was excellent - beautiful natural images, very striking bits of composition in various room and street scenes, and a wonderful use of color. The storyline was somewhat canned, but the acting was very solid and some of the dialogue was exceptional in its deceptive simplicity. I will keep thinking about this one for some time.
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  6. Sep 29, 2011
    7
    "The American" is quite and poetic, like those old japanese samurai movies. The movie shoots the core of what its trying to say, giving a appeal to the heart rather than eye candy visuals. In the end, the audience who are more mature would definitely watch this.
  7. Sep 23, 2010
    10
    This is a wonderfully executed example of an intelligent and thought provoking character study. Once again, George Clooney is a class act with the guts to choose a great project that, sadly, most people will be too over-stimulated by today's mindless movies to truly appreciate. The film is highly engaging. Riveting, in fact, if you're not looking for the typical shoot 'em up actionThis is a wonderfully executed example of an intelligent and thought provoking character study. Once again, George Clooney is a class act with the guts to choose a great project that, sadly, most people will be too over-stimulated by today's mindless movies to truly appreciate. The film is highly engaging. Riveting, in fact, if you're not looking for the typical shoot 'em up action picture. If you're willing to get under the skin of The American, and really feel this guy's harsh reality, it's even shocking, not to mention heart-breaking, at times, and certainly a more realistic look at the life of an assassin than anything that's come out in a long time. Congrats to all involved in the making of the wonderful picture. Great job!!! Expand
  8. Sep 9, 2010
    9
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. It takes one to know one; spies in a quiet Italian village, spies who can only be up to no good, and loud. The American recognizes the lady in shades as being from his tribe, and converges toward their rendezvous point, a cafe, with the purchase he just made from the cheese vendor. Jack carries with him a wedge of real cheese, not Cheese Whiz or Kraft singles, while his filmic limner, George Clooney, carries a real movie, a homage to, perhaps, the French New Wave, not cheesy action flicks or films in general from the post-MTV generation. Coming off the heels of Jim Jarmusch's "The Limits of Control", the moviegoer half-expects Jack to exchange matchboxes with the shady lady, but no, "The American" has a reverence for movie lore; it's not out to deconstruct the spy movie, rather, the filmmaker wants to slow the damn thing down. Mathilde(Thekla Reuten) simply gives Jack his next mission, his instructions, very old school, like something out of a Jean-Pierre Melville flick, or Fred Zinneman's "The Day of the Jackal", made so by the film's caterpillar-esque pacing and existential anti-hero. Moviegoers who pooh-poohed "The Limits of Control", in all likelihood, didn't know what Jarmusch(the most European of all contemporary American filmmakers) was deconstructing. "The American" knows. After all, wall-to-wall action doesn't ensue after Jack's briefing, instead the film goes into hibernation, a cocoon of deliberation and incremental suspense, before the chaos* begins, which is put forth into motion when Jack and Mathilde spot a rare butterfly during their "picnic". At its most self-reflexive, this ironically-titled film(in reference to its form and content, and historical context) offers a veiled critique of contemporary major studio films, as the Catholic priest(Paolo Bonicelli) doubles as an in-frame predictor of audience receptivity(some of whom will be bored by its retro tropes), when he criticizes Jack for making a guidebook on Italian architecture, even though the American possesses no sense of history(read: today's moviegoers watch films in isolation from the breadth of bygone eras and movements). Americans "live in the present" the priest offers, thus "The American" will seem tedious to them; the very same "tedium" which Jarmusch archly satirizes, this filmmaker celebrates as a narratorial elixir for the fast cars, fast women, and fast-vanishing ability of an audience to get lost in a story well-told. (*chaos theory- the butterfly effect) Expand
  9. Sep 4, 2010
    9
    I think I might have been one of only two or three people in the theater who liked this movie... and I really liked it. To me this mystery thriller was about the assasin's (George Cloony) failed escape from hell. There was a strong moral element to this film, personified by a wonderful early morning scene in a park where an elderly Italian priest confesses to Cloony, and describes hellI think I might have been one of only two or three people in the theater who liked this movie... and I really liked it. To me this mystery thriller was about the assasin's (George Cloony) failed escape from hell. There was a strong moral element to this film, personified by a wonderful early morning scene in a park where an elderly Italian priest confesses to Cloony, and describes hell as a place where there is no love. That is the assassin's awful life. Although smooth and suave on the outside, and a guy who attracts beautiful women, Cloony's dark, haunted character is wracked by inner turmoil. I think the director is saying how utterly awful it must be to live like that - constantly in fear and without true friendship, trust and love. This film unfolds slowly, but it is a beaut. For adults only. Expand
  10. Nov 28, 2010
    10
    The American was not made for an American. It's a work of art. If you watch this movie expecting the Bourne Identity you'll be sorely disappointed, but if you have an open mind you'll realize the depth of the story, its characters, and its symbolism.
  11. Sep 6, 2010
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. One of my least favorite movies of all time. Walked out after an hour and a quarter. Didn't care what happened to any of the characters. Hope they all died in the end. T and A, oh so ho hum and of no interest to me. Certainly didn't save this tedious film. Clooney should keep his shirt on. George, I loved ya, but no more. Expand
  12. Sep 8, 2010
    10
    I too specifically joined metacritic so I could put in my two cents worth on this film. Unlike the other reviewer I really did enjoy it., but I want to rant about a specific point. How hard must it be to find a competent firearms consultant these days? This was a movie about a gun for Pete's sake! 1) It was NOT an M14 as stated. It does not have a "rate of fire" This was not a machinegun.I too specifically joined metacritic so I could put in my two cents worth on this film. Unlike the other reviewer I really did enjoy it., but I want to rant about a specific point. How hard must it be to find a competent firearms consultant these days? This was a movie about a gun for Pete's sake! 1) It was NOT an M14 as stated. It does not have a "rate of fire" This was not a machinegun. It only fires one round per pull of the trigger. 2) Why in the world would they have seen fit to include the velocity of the round if they were going to get it wrong by a factor of ten? They claimed it had the velocity of a Daisy BB gun. 3) They reinforced the notion that movie style "silencers" are real while drawing a false distinction between them and the correct identification as a sound suppressor, and then proceeded to dub in the Hollywood magic sound of a silencer. I realize the average movie go'er doesn't give a flip about any of this stuff but for those of us that like movies like this specifically because we get a kick out of guns is it asking too much spend a buck on some competent technical advice. If you'll take it I'd give you my advice for free Mr. Corbijn. Expand
  13. Sep 19, 2010
    9
    In The American, George Clooney plays an assassin on a mission in Italy. With the intensity of Jason Bourne, he delivers an artful, exacting performance. This film is a fascinating addition to Clooney's work, but don't expect the dark humor he's known for in The Men Who Stare at Goats or O Brother, Where Art Thou? He's dashing but dead serious. There's no Daniel Ocean here.

    The American
    In The American, George Clooney plays an assassin on a mission in Italy. With the intensity of Jason Bourne, he delivers an artful, exacting performance. This film is a fascinating addition to Clooney's work, but don't expect the dark humor he's known for in The Men Who Stare at Goats or O Brother, Where Art Thou? He's dashing but dead serious. There's no Daniel Ocean here.

    The American is an arty film adapted from the novel A Very Private Gentleman. Its scenes and close-ups are beautifully composed, like paintings. Cinematographer Martin Ruhe venerates the beauty and culture of Italy even as Jack (aka Edward Butterfly) carries out his dirty, murderous mission.

    But Butterfly's preparation is anything but dirty. Over a month he builds a gun and silencer with Zen-like discipline and concentration. With very little dialogue, Clooney keeps viewers fascinated with fastidious rituals (push-ups, chin-ups and daily coffee at a cafe).

    Violante Placido (the daughter of Simoneta Stefanelli, the actress who played Al Pacino's Sicilian wife in The Godfather), delivers a classy performance as Clara, a prostitute who becomes Edward's love interest. It is Placido who brings zest for life to the film. Her bedroom scenes with Clooney arouse and thrill. Yet the uneasy feeling that Butterfly can trust no one persists. Finally The American is about the meaning of one man's life. Paolo Bonacelli as Father Benedetto is the catalyst who gets Edward thinking about what he does and why he does it. When Edward calls his boss Pavel (Johan Leysen) to announce that this is going to be his last mission, it comes as no surprise.

    The American will appeal to seekers of a deep, thoughtful experience. It is a meditative character study that some - but not all - Clooney fans will enjoy. There is a quiet elegance to this film. Dutch director Anton Corbijn crafted it with great attention to detail.

    The American has not won wide critical acclaim. But it is the kind of film that a box office superstar like George Clooney can choose to make.
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  14. Sep 11, 2010
    10
    this film is like cilantro.
    people either love it or hate it.
    i loved it.

    the above review was rejected by metacritic because it wasn't 150 characters long !
  15. Sep 13, 2010
    8
    The movie's character is a hitman of extreme solitude, but by the end of the movie, the character becomes a little bit more human by falling in love. The suspense created within the movie leaves the viewer wondering what is about to happen next. The plot was not as strong. Probably because the director didn't have enough time to really open up everyone's character like the author of theThe movie's character is a hitman of extreme solitude, but by the end of the movie, the character becomes a little bit more human by falling in love. The suspense created within the movie leaves the viewer wondering what is about to happen next. The plot was not as strong. Probably because the director didn't have enough time to really open up everyone's character like the author of the book did. George Clooney's did a really good job displaying the different facets and emotions of the character's personality. In addition, the movie's European style of filming enhance the viewing experience because its different from traditonal filming. By the end of the movie, I was kind of wondering what just happened, but looking back, I like this movie because it is so different. There is also dramatic irony that will have the viewer pondering for hours when the movie is over! See it for yourself. Expand
  16. Sep 20, 2010
    10
    Unfortunately, all of the people declaring this film to be boring make up the majority of the world we live in. Thankfully, not every movie is Armageddon, and some of us can enjoy a story without non-stop explosions and endless chase secenes. Clooney proves he is one of, if not the best, actors working today. Beautifully shot and thoughtfully paced, this is the kind of movie that used toUnfortunately, all of the people declaring this film to be boring make up the majority of the world we live in. Thankfully, not every movie is Armageddon, and some of us can enjoy a story without non-stop explosions and endless chase secenes. Clooney proves he is one of, if not the best, actors working today. Beautifully shot and thoughtfully paced, this is the kind of movie that used to get made more often, before focus groups took over the process. Thank you for this gem. Expand
  17. Nov 3, 2010
    7
    Based on Martin Booth's novel "A Very Private Gentleman," this american production feels more like a European art-house film. The lead role fits Clooney like a glove and with a costar to-fall-in-love-with Violante Placido, both in characters who are by default lonely due to their choice of profession, they bring emotional depth and substance to a carefully patiently crafted thriller.
  18. Dec 15, 2010
    10
    This movie requires an attention span. It's a character study, not just another run-of-the-mill action movie, and if you know George Clooney, than you should come to expect a little more smarts in his films and observant writing, not just cheap effects. This is a terrific movie for a more mature audience.
  19. Oct 12, 2010
    7
    Beautiful to look at, but holy crap, is it slow-moving. I'm ok with films with deliberate pacing, but this was far too tedious to watch. Clooney gives a subdued but effective performance, and Anton Corbijn is clearly a talented director, but the pacing prevents it from being a great film.
  20. Nov 2, 2010
    8
    A Film Review By: Sam Fragoso

    "The American" ***1/2 George Clooney star's in Anton Corbijn's new action thriller "The American" Review The film revolves around an older man, possibly a spy, and definitely a craftsman of some sort. We never really find out what he is, but we do know that he is dangerous and he is being hunted. Now people are comparing this film as the "Eat, Pray,
    A Film Review By: Sam Fragoso

    "The American"

    ***1/2

    George Clooney star's in Anton Corbijn's new action thriller "The American"


    Review
    The film revolves around an older man, possibly a spy, and definitely a craftsman of some sort. We never really find out what he is, but we do know that he is dangerous and he is being hunted.

    Now people are comparing this film as the "Eat, Pray, Love" for George Clooney. I don't think so, yes Clooney is in every scene, but this is certainly not a travelogue of Europe and on top of that the supporting cast around him is the reason why this film works so well.

    However I think "The American" is an acquired taste and certainly not for everyone. I mean there is ten minute stretches without any dialogue and most of the film is without action, which is all-fine by me.

    The crowd I saw this film with was certainly not happy; they were bored, confused and angry that objects weren't blowing up. I however enjoyed every minute of it; it's beautifully shot in the Swiss Alps, Rome and a small little town in Italy.

    "The American" has beautiful cinematography through out, Clooney gives a great performance and though sometimes the characters seem to be to remote for us to care about "The American" is a good film and for my money one of the years best.
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  21. Jan 23, 2011
    10
    Brilliant movie that had me at edge of my seat the whole time. It's not just another boring action movie. Only intelligent people will enjoy this masterpiece.
  22. Apr 12, 2011
    10
    Anton Corbijn's "The American" is one of those rare films that come along only once in a great while. Corbijn's has blended a methodical tale of redemption blending it with the meticulous characterization and absorbing pace of such films as Jean Pierre-Melville's "Le Samourai"(1967) or Ridley Scott's "Blade Runner"(1982). Corbjin has crafted such a quiet dialogue driven film with suchAnton Corbijn's "The American" is one of those rare films that come along only once in a great while. Corbijn's has blended a methodical tale of redemption blending it with the meticulous characterization and absorbing pace of such films as Jean Pierre-Melville's "Le Samourai"(1967) or Ridley Scott's "Blade Runner"(1982). Corbjin has crafted such a quiet dialogue driven film with such lush and bleak cinematography that accentuate the dark yet emotional nature of this engrossing character drama. The way he uses colors to highlight the darkness like using green lighting in the dark alleyways or reds in a brothel, how he uses mute grays during the day to give this film an air of foreboding and dread, how death looms around every corner, how at any moment someone could die, he could die. Corbjin and screenwriter Rowan Joffe deftly combine old school drama, techniques, and characterization with modern day style filmmaking to construct a story that not only delves deep into the psyche of a professional assassin but also delves into the psychological aspects of the human condition. How death can play a very important part in how we live our lives and how we choose the path that we will follow for the rest of our days. "The American" is one of the best films of 2010, not solely based on its technical merits but on the merits of its intricately woven story of death, love and life how it spins the of-told story of an assassin trying to escape his life of death. This is a beautifully haunting film. A film that has been grossly overlooked due to its slow pace and lack of explosions, wall-to-wall action that is not what this film is about this film is about life, about love, about death and what is important in life. "The American" is the intelligent moviegoers film a film that must be looked at for more than what it is on the surface. Seen for the dark, methodical psychological outlook on human nature that it is This is one of the very best of 2010 and one of the best throwback drama-thrillers I have seen in a long, a true and shining statement that there is still some magic left in the movie business. "The Americanâ Expand
  23. Sep 5, 2010
    7
    The Kafkaesque pastiche intimates rolling landscapes amidst darkened (but still heartwarmingly still) characters. Nevertheless, Clooney, albeit long in the tooth, venerates the sort of panache reminiscent Otto Wernicke (Inspector Karl in M, 1931) minus Ellen Widmanns transparency. In summation, Corbijn never ceases, alas his stylistic nuances, forgotten.
  24. Sep 3, 2010
    8
    A tightly wound, quiet thriller that delivers for the most part. Clooney is excellent. Photography is beautiful. Some people might gripe that their is not much action, but action is not tension, and their is plenty of tension in this film to keep you interested. Clooney keeps making these small gems and we as moviegoers are the better for it.
  25. Sep 4, 2010
    8
    This movie sort of creeps up on you. At first I was thinking it was getting boring, but once I gave in and went along for the ride, I found myself being lulled into the story. Scenery is astounding, the women are beautiful, and Clooney is at the top of his game.
  26. Sep 4, 2010
    9
    I enjoyed it. I found the film to be bleak (which I like), the scenery beautiful, and the tension unrelenting. It took me a while to understand what was going on - but once I did, the movie seemed to follow an inexorable arc to its conclusion.
  27. Sep 5, 2010
    8
    Not what I expected at all but I really enjoyed it. Not sure what some of the reviewers were looking for but I love a movie that makes you think and pay attention. Sure it wasn't non stop action but the acting was great. Clooney really is a good actor. It's nice to see they still make a few movies for adults. Nothing wrong with artsy -craftsy once in a while. Go see Machete if you needNot what I expected at all but I really enjoyed it. Not sure what some of the reviewers were looking for but I love a movie that makes you think and pay attention. Sure it wasn't non stop action but the acting was great. Clooney really is a good actor. It's nice to see they still make a few movies for adults. Nothing wrong with artsy -craftsy once in a while. Go see Machete if you need something to keep you awake. Expand
  28. Dec 29, 2011
    10
    this movie was amazing, i loved it. i had read that it was very slow, lite on dialogue and heavy on atmosphere and that couldn't be more true. the movie was marketed as "George Clooney as Jason Bourne" type movie, which it is not (its the farthest thing for that). basically its about Clooney in a small Italian village in the alps, hes laying low after someone tried to kill him, and isthis movie was amazing, i loved it. i had read that it was very slow, lite on dialogue and heavy on atmosphere and that couldn't be more true. the movie was marketed as "George Clooney as Jason Bourne" type movie, which it is not (its the farthest thing for that). basically its about Clooney in a small Italian village in the alps, hes laying low after someone tried to kill him, and is asked to make a custom gun by his boss, and its his last job and you get the picture. so we know from the beginning that someone wants to kill him but were (and clooney) not sure who, so were constantly looking over our backs. the tensions grows throughout the movie and (without saying too much) it pays off at the end. i wouldnt recommend this to everyone (because it is so "slow"), but i think for some people it would be right up their alley (especially if you dont like the fast pace stupid action stuff like "the losers" or something). i really enjoyed it and it has stayed with me as one of the best movies i watched this summer (i know, i watched pretty late). Expand
  29. Sep 9, 2010
    8
    The American is a stylish, very European film in the style of art cinema of the 1970s. Had this film been directed by a Bergman disciple like Woody Allen, or by someone like Michelangelo Antonioni, it would have been hailed as a masterpiece. In fact, it is suspenseful the way Blowup was - you're not sure what is happening until you realize you'll have to fill in the blanks yourself, andThe American is a stylish, very European film in the style of art cinema of the 1970s. Had this film been directed by a Bergman disciple like Woody Allen, or by someone like Michelangelo Antonioni, it would have been hailed as a masterpiece. In fact, it is suspenseful the way Blowup was - you're not sure what is happening until you realize you'll have to fill in the blanks yourself, and the questions are far more numerous than the answers. If you can savor a slow-moving film and give yourself over to some introspection you will be rewarded by an expertly made, engrossing film of the kind they don't make enough of anymore. Highly recommended. Expand
  30. Apr 29, 2011
    9
    I'm sure that this movie was misrepresented as a 'thriller' to get the Fast & Furious or Oceans 11 crowd into the theater. That would explain most of the negative reviews from users who don't ever have a single introspective thought. I guess I would be upset too, if I was expecting The Transporter 3, and instead found myself watching something way above my intellectual depth.

    This movie
    I'm sure that this movie was misrepresented as a 'thriller' to get the Fast & Furious or Oceans 11 crowd into the theater. That would explain most of the negative reviews from users who don't ever have a single introspective thought. I guess I would be upset too, if I was expecting The Transporter 3, and instead found myself watching something way above my intellectual depth.

    This movie is excellent -- as long as you aren't the type who falls asleep if there isn't an explosion on the screen every 10 minutes.
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  31. Dec 6, 2010
    9
    I confess, when I sat down in the cinema I was expecting to see George Bond, taking down his enemies with a smirk and a cheesy one-liner. I was very surprised by the film, and pleasantly so. The American tells its story through mood, tension and silence .. and does so very well. It sure ain't Hollywood. It's .. classy. There's just no other word that quite fits.
  32. Sep 27, 2013
    7
    The American is a bizarre movie and one that totally caught me off balance the first time I watched it. I was expecting an exciting thriller. What I got was a slow-burn, meditative art flick with minimal dialogue, plotting or action. Admittedly, the first viewing was a rough one, but I have since seen it a few more times and I like it much more now. I guess first impressions aren't always right.
  33. Mar 11, 2011
    9
    Excellent, minimalist film, but has a good enough story and action sequences to keep it interesting. Overall very good acting; Clooney is excellent again.
  34. Aug 14, 2013
    9
    We don't necessarily get a story about a master assassin as the blurb suggests, but what we do get is a heavy character study about the repercussions of such a lifestyle, and it couldn't be painted in more realistic form from George Clooney, who delivers a very subdued yet believably dangerous performance as the variously named assassin. We immediately realise the situation this man findsWe don't necessarily get a story about a master assassin as the blurb suggests, but what we do get is a heavy character study about the repercussions of such a lifestyle, and it couldn't be painted in more realistic form from George Clooney, who delivers a very subdued yet believably dangerous performance as the variously named assassin. We immediately realise the situation this man finds himself in, he trusts nobody and really cannot be around anyone for fear of being discovered, as the old threats used to go, you will be looking over your shoulder for the rest of your life, well this is exactly what the film consists of, a middle-aged man who must try to rebuild his life and escape his messy past, his actions in the opening moments of the film show just how far he will go to not be found.
    I also noticed very little dialogue throughout the film, instead going for very intense and thrilling scenes, quiet but engrossing as the story progresses, a story that isn't fully explained but doesn't need to be, our assassin is hiding out in Italy, where we learn of his other trade as a very talented gunsmith, something he seems at peace doing. What follows is a slowly paced and captivating encounter, with Clooney's character suspicious of every single person he meets or even lays eyes on, probably for good reason.
    The easiest thing to take away from the film is not necessarily what this man, Jack, is, but more so what happens after, we meet him in what can only be assumed to be the twilight years of his job, and the rest of the film plays as a study of the difficulties and challenges facing different choices made, loneliness plays a major factor but its focus and determination that keep this man alive. The film itself does have an acquired taste, its often slow and many will find it difficult to sit through, simply for the lack of what people may perceive to be very little happening, but thats the point of it, letting the talent tell the story through actions, facial expressions and decisions, this man constantly fears for his life, even though his past suggests he can handle the pressure, we see a broken and often paranoid individual, a human being. The promotional posters are truly misleading and this was definitely surprising, but in a very delightful way.
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  35. Oct 11, 2013
    7
    Not good, not bad. It had some well acted scenes but that's all. I actually cried my money because in the cinema was only me and my friend. All the others were absolutely gone!!! Whatever..........a mediocre film!!!!
  36. Jan 10, 2014
    9
    A restrained and disciplined presentation conveys style, subtlety, and finesse. Surprisingly, stillness and silence contain as much stimulation as any scene from a blockbuster action film. Each scene keeps you wanting a little more, as attractively mysterious things often do. I really liked jack, the priest and his girlfriend. All three displayed convincing depth. The gun building andA restrained and disciplined presentation conveys style, subtlety, and finesse. Surprisingly, stillness and silence contain as much stimulation as any scene from a blockbuster action film. Each scene keeps you wanting a little more, as attractively mysterious things often do. I really liked jack, the priest and his girlfriend. All three displayed convincing depth. The gun building and shooting parts were sweet. Expand
  37. May 30, 2016
    7
    The American is a refreshing film to see in a time when most movies are sequels, spin-offs, or big-budget blockbusters. It is a character study of an assassin, played by George Clooney, taking place in the beautiful hills of Italy. The cinematography is amazing, and the screenplay allows for many overhead shots of villages and mountains to be seen. The film's premise and storyline areThe American is a refreshing film to see in a time when most movies are sequels, spin-offs, or big-budget blockbusters. It is a character study of an assassin, played by George Clooney, taking place in the beautiful hills of Italy. The cinematography is amazing, and the screenplay allows for many overhead shots of villages and mountains to be seen. The film's premise and storyline are reminiscent of an Italian film from the 1960s, and it captures most of the magic of that era. Expand
  38. Jul 29, 2016
    8
    Quiet, tense, dramatic, violent tour of the Abruzzo region of Italy. Artful nod to the Spaghetti Western's lone anti-hero come to town. Highly recommended, TOP of the Netflix list. Borderline Blu-Ray addition to your collection - it's that beautifully photographed. Can you tell that I liked it?
Metascore
61

Generally favorable reviews - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 36
  2. Negative: 1 out of 36
  1. The American, a movie as coiled as a snake and as still as a sleepy villa, is the rare grownup thriller that knows the link between peace and danger and the tension that comes from both.
  2. The movie is a paradox. It's ostentatiously restrained. You cannot say Corbijn lacks rigor. You can, however, say that when a talented director's approach too precisely mirrors the tightly calibrated performance strategy of his leading player, a movie risks stalling out completely.
  3. 100
    Here is a gripping film with the focus of a Japanese drama, an impenetrable character to equal Alain Delon's in "Le Samourai," by Jean-Pierre Melville.