Last night Irena and I went to see The American starring George Clooney. Actually, it should probably be referred to as "George Clooney Starring In The American" because the watchability of its star is one of the few things that the movie has going for it. The story, such as it is, concerns a hitman named Jack hiding out in an Italian village, creating a special weapon for a client, sipping a lot of coffee and looking concerned. He enters into a couple of relationships, one with a prostitute and another with a priest, but neither offers much insight into his character or theirs. At one point someone shows up and tries to kill him, but he dispatches this threat and continues to hang out and work on his rifle-disregarding the obvious danger to himself now that his enemies have found his location. Throughout the film Jack looks terse and weary. Talk to priest. Bang hooker. Read about butterflies. Do chin ups. Rinse. Repeat. What time is it now? How much longer in this thing?
There are some solid scenes. There is a moment where Jack and his prostitute companion exchange a couple lines of subtle dialogue that nicely illustrates their changing relationship. When testing his rifle with his assassin client-also a beautiful woman-the sexual tension and potential danger gives an effective, and rare, sense of anticipation... and then once again...nothing much happens. The film is well shot-albeit a bit grey-and the music is subtle and effective. The ending is a perfectly serviceable, if standard issue, denouement. The screenplay just needed some more development. I suppose one could say that the sparseness of the narrative reflects the emptiness of his own life, that the hard rock of the empty cityscape symbolizes the zzzzzzzz. ...to me it's just too slow. I could easily cut The American into an excellent short film. As a feature, it needed a lot more to happen.
p.s. Full marks to Irena for guessing the ending halfway through the film. That's usually my department, but I was too bored to bother.