The American

User Score
6.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 245 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 35 out of 245

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User Reviews

  1. Sep 4, 2010
    5
    What did every one want? It was beautiful. You knew what was going to happen? The book I'm sure played out the conflicted character bit better than the film portrayed it, and so the film is weak there, but the rest works. Slow? Fast? Not enough going on? It was what it was, and because it was "different" I'm glad. Don't particularly care for Clooney, but unless a guy like this does thisWhat did every one want? It was beautiful. You knew what was going to happen? The book I'm sure played out the conflicted character bit better than the film portrayed it, and so the film is weak there, but the rest works. Slow? Fast? Not enough going on? It was what it was, and because it was "different" I'm glad. Don't particularly care for Clooney, but unless a guy like this does this kind of thing, you won't see films like this in the theatre, and most folks would be glad of that, but I won't. I like throwbacks, homages, and a bit of do "different's". And over all it was fine. No, probably won't see it again, but then again, most films these days I won't. Can't usually, films don't get shown again in theatres much. Demise of life, that. Expand
  2. Sep 22, 2010
    6
    Hmm. Yeah I dunno, man. My expectations were certainly disappointed. Maybe it'll age like wine, but right now it's not even wine. It's like a desperate swig of Scope.
  3. Sep 9, 2010
    6
    I heard a couple of meatheads walking out of the theater on Oahu say, "I didn't get it.... George Clooney officially ruined his reputation with this one." Huh?? What's not to get? It's not a bad movie by any stretch, but is has much more deliberate pacing than the trailer would suggest. This was not meant to be another Bourne movie. If you're a fan of a show like Rubicon, you'll loveI heard a couple of meatheads walking out of the theater on Oahu say, "I didn't get it.... George Clooney officially ruined his reputation with this one." Huh?? What's not to get? It's not a bad movie by any stretch, but is has much more deliberate pacing than the trailer would suggest. This was not meant to be another Bourne movie. If you're a fan of a show like Rubicon, you'll love it. The actresses in this film are spectacular. (Not sure it's them or the parts - or the direction - but are great opposite George.) Expand
  4. Sep 2, 2010
    6
    Essentially a vehicle to showcase George Clooney (who is r-e-a-l-l-y getting long in the tooth) and the Abruzzo region of Italy. Clooney still has enough panash to make it bearable and the Abruzzo region, even in winter, is spectacular, but the story is tired and has holes in it big enough to fly a 747 through.
  5. Sep 1, 2010
    5
    Having read some reviews before viewing the movie and was prepared to enjoy the unfolding story......George Clooney had his character down pat.....the other actors filled the spaces to keep the plot moving. If it was not for Violante Placido who played a prostituite who exuded so much character, brought some life into the mainly drab story.....
  6. Sep 15, 2010
    6
    Very suspenseful in parts and exquisitely slow moving in other parts with the camera stuck on Clooney doing exercises and other things, sometimes unexplainably. Clooney didn't have a lot of lines to learn.his charm doesn't show, not even a sparkle in the eye. Lots of gratuitous violence and sex. Beautiful photography of the land. Despite the title, the film seems more a foreign film.
  7. Sep 19, 2010
    6
    "The American" is certainly not a thriller in the action-oriented sense. Oh, it's about spies and hit men and such and occasionally there's some shooting and killing and so on. Certainly there are beautiful people to see and luscious scenery for them to be seen in. But I think this is really a meditation about what might be important in life, in the context of the main character being"The American" is certainly not a thriller in the action-oriented sense. Oh, it's about spies and hit men and such and occasionally there's some shooting and killing and so on. Certainly there are beautiful people to see and luscious scenery for them to be seen in. But I think this is really a meditation about what might be important in life, in the context of the main character being an aging assassin. Unfortunately, if that's the case, it's a superficial meditation at best. As I watched this movie I often thought of Terrence Malick's "The Thin Red Line," a similar exercise in self-reflection albeit about war instead of espionage. Certainly DeNiro's "The Good Shepherd" was more successful, in my mind, in contemplating the spy life. Here, Clooney's portrayal of Jack, like the character himself, just seems worn out. In the end, we are not surprised at all by the movie's resolution nor, I think, do we much care. Expand
  8. Sep 19, 2010
    6
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I didn't like its gloomy feeling. It was too much of an artsy film. I like its minimalist approach on a supposed-to-be action assassin film but the whole film was too quiet. Even the guns they use have silencers in it.

    Still a great performance from George Clooney, though.
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  9. Lyn
    Jan 29, 2011
    6
    Parts of this film reminded me of one of my favorites, "The Conversation" -- Gene Hackman as the quintessential craftsman & loner who plies his amoral trade while experiencing a grim sort of moral awakening. I admire Clooney for taking a part like this that requires him to be even more serious and less charming than in "Syriana." And I found the film visually arresting. But even with theParts of this film reminded me of one of my favorites, "The Conversation" -- Gene Hackman as the quintessential craftsman & loner who plies his amoral trade while experiencing a grim sort of moral awakening. I admire Clooney for taking a part like this that requires him to be even more serious and less charming than in "Syriana." And I found the film visually arresting. But even with the bordello sex, it lacks the humanity and emotion that would have made me care more about his character. Expand
  10. Sep 3, 2010
    4
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Loved the cinematography, the actress playing Claire was played well (although we didn't buy that anyone that looked that young and beautiful would be in a generic bordello), and the scenery was amazing. What was missing was a compelling plot. Specifically, why did Clooney's character attract Claire? Other than Clooney's supposed bedroom prowess, what convinces me that those two forge such a intense emotional commitment? Lots of slow reaction shots, signifying deep internal turmoil but primarily functioning to provide opportunities to catch up on lost sleep.

    Also, how obvious can things be? Clooney goes to a a bar/diner nightly, one night "a friend" drops off an envelope with info on the murder at the beginning of the movie that he is running away from. And someone is very obviously tracking him, but we wait for a third of the movie before something comes of it. And when it does, his handler tells him to sit tight, even though someone is out there trying to take him out and knows where he is. The final fifteen minutes were very well done, and were very touching. Too bad so much of the movie took so long to get there - if the rest of the movie had moved a little bit faster and had spent more time developing the characters vs. long shots of scenery, gun assembly, and the like.
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  11. Jan 22, 2011
    6
    This movie was okay although it was painfully slow in developing. I guess it was fun to watch if you are a fan of paint growing or grass drying... I did enjoy the cinematography and Clooney is always fun to watch. It was an interesting idea but I did have to turn on my humidifier since it was so dry.... Was glad to see the rifle blow up and knock our his assassin....
  12. Mar 15, 2011
    6
    It was a pretty good spy movie, I think most of the people who are saying that the script was boring that's because they don't appreciate the build up. I can imagine people who came into the theater expecting non stop action to be disappointed, but it's not that kind of movie.
  13. Apr 13, 2011
    4
    The American is a rather slow and ultimately nonsensically plotted movie which promises much (it could have been The Consequences of Love, and was clearly influenced by it) but fails to deliver (the "twist" at the end, instead of being explicatory, instead renders everything that's gone before utterly pointless). Clooney works hard with the slow pacing and it's quite nicely shot, with theThe American is a rather slow and ultimately nonsensically plotted movie which promises much (it could have been The Consequences of Love, and was clearly influenced by it) but fails to deliver (the "twist" at the end, instead of being explicatory, instead renders everything that's gone before utterly pointless). Clooney works hard with the slow pacing and it's quite nicely shot, with the benefit of some wonderful scenery, but all you're left with in the end is the taste of disappointment. Expand
  14. CRL
    Aug 12, 2011
    4
    It's aimless and completely devoid of any type of thrills, which is generally bad when a movie is billed as a thriller. The ending, which should have been exciting and emotional failed to extort even a smidgeon of energy. As a character study it's no match for The Bourne Identity, with a main character so enigmatic that any insights are swiftly denied. The script at some points isIt's aimless and completely devoid of any type of thrills, which is generally bad when a movie is billed as a thriller. The ending, which should have been exciting and emotional failed to extort even a smidgeon of energy. As a character study it's no match for The Bourne Identity, with a main character so enigmatic that any insights are swiftly denied. The script at some points is downright awful, while the miniscule, agonizingly slow plot plays out without a hint of suspense. The only things that pull The American up to a 4 are Clooney's grasp on his impossible character, magnificent acting by the rest of the cast, and the obvious care that was put into the cinematography and editing. Expand
  15. Mar 5, 2016
    6
    The American is just a little too poorly paced. It is not necessarily boring, but for a film that is under two hours in length, it really, really drags. George Clooney turns in an understated, cool, and calculated, performance in the lead role and the cinematography from Martin Ruhe is absolutely breathtaking. The mise en scene as a whole is fantastic and the score is lush and brilliantlyThe American is just a little too poorly paced. It is not necessarily boring, but for a film that is under two hours in length, it really, really drags. George Clooney turns in an understated, cool, and calculated, performance in the lead role and the cinematography from Martin Ruhe is absolutely breathtaking. The mise en scene as a whole is fantastic and the score is lush and brilliantly composed. While the pace slacks, the direction from Anton Corbijn otherwise is pretty good and he has tight control over this tense thriller. Beyond this, it often feels as though the film's plot is just Clooney walking and driving around Italy. While there is obviously more to it, the plot is just far too subtle and practically non-existent. The American is a beautiful film that really has fantastic technical aspects and is well-acted, but is just not necessarily my thing. Expand
  16. Aug 25, 2012
    6
    A great film that relies solely on George Clooney to provide the fantastic performance to lift this film from being mediocre to being a good one. Extremely watchable though I would advise that it can drag on in certain places.
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.