Movie Mind Says: Wait for Cable (or not at all)
If You Like This You Should Watch: In Bruges
Better Than: Fool’s Gold (just barely)
Worse Than: 99% of the IMDB.com database of movies
Starring: George Clooney
Unfortunately, you are probably going to read some other reviews of The American after this one due to The Movie Mind‘s “extreme” reaction. You are going to see terms such as: stylistic, visually appealing, emotionally understated, and maybe even “thriller”. I am here to tell you not to believe a single one. This movie is why I started writing reviews. As much as I enjoy finding a nice hidden gem that got blasted by reviews, I enjoy just the same letting readers know when some piece of garbage gets raves by the “artistic community” of self-indulgent critics. Hopefully, the reason you read my reviews is you know that I do not fall into that category. I am here to tell you that this is one of the top-10 worst moves I have ever seen in my lifetime, and trust me, I’ve seen a lot of movies. There wasn’t a single comedic element in this film, yet at the climactic grand finale and supposedly emotionally gripping scene, Mrs. Movie Mind and I started laughing out loud in the theater. Funniest part is, we were not alone.
First of all let’s get a few misconceptions out of the way. This is not anymore a thriller than The Piano, and George Clooney was particularly atrocious, even if you actually think he has talent. Since you’ve been thoroughly misled by the trailer, it was my duty to set you straight. Now that we know what The American is not, I really don’t know how to explain what it is. I’ve heard spy movie, introspective, character-piece, and again, all are wrong. People have been raving about how “beautifully shot” the film is, and if are hoping to go and see some really pretty scenery than you might just get that and nothing more. There are raves about how deep this film purports to be and does not rely on explosions and shoot ‘em up sequences to tell a gripping tale. That would be fine if it were correct, and once you can barely manage to get past the snail’s pace and sheer boredom emanating from this film, it still lacks any real substance or connection with the story.
Clooney is the focal point as a loner who is supposed to be a contract killer. The problem is that we’re not really sure. He is also somehow an expert firearm maker which ends up being the only job we see him involved with. He deals with a man-behind-the-curtain and the femme fatale point person who plays a fairly integral role in the film yet without any bit of character development or background. He also has a bunch of “Swedes” chasing him for an unknown reason. We don’t know who he is, who they are, or why any of them are involved with each other. Confused yet? As you meander along the monotony, Clooney meets a hooker that becomes a love interest (also very random), befriends a curious priest, and the best part – he has an infatuation with butterflies (and a tramp-stamp tattoo on his back to commemorate it.) I’m sure some literary snob will make up a pathetic explanation for the butterfly thing along the lines of his inner struggle between his chosen career and self-image, but no matter how you explain it – Clooney’s still got a freaking butterfly tattoo on his back.
There is so much to hate about this movie and so little to like. From the random characters that drop into the story with no meaning or background to the aimless wandering Clooney does the entire time, it is a senseless picture of self-indulgency and waste. What is potentially supposed to be an inner struggle and conflict of morality, convenience, and humanity, ends up being a bore with bad acting and no story at all. I stamp my reputation, whatever that may be, on how terrible this film is. I welcome any so-called critic to provide a logical explanation as to how it has any worth at all, regardless of what they market the film to be. Proceed cautiously by way of staying as far away from it as you can.
Interesting Cameo Appearance: For there to be an interesting cameo appearance, that would have to imply there was something remotely interesting about this film…and we really don’t want to do that.
There was not anything memorable (in a good way) about this film.