Saturday, December 9, 2017
THE AMERICAN (2010)
Directed By: Anton Corbijn
Written By: Rowan Joffe
Based On The Novel By: Martin Booth
Cinematography By: Martin Ruhe
Editor: Andrew Hulme
Cast: George Clooney, Irina Bjorklund, Paolo Bonacelli, Johan Leysen, Thekla Rueten, Violante Placido, Filipo Timi
Alone among assassins, Jack is a master craftsman. When a job in Sweden ends more harshly than expected for this American abroad, he vows to his contact Pavel that his next assignment will be his last. Jack reports to the Italian countryside, where he holes up in a small town and relishes being away from death for a spell. The assignment, as specified by a Belgian woman, Mathilde, is in the offing as a weapon is constructed. Surprising himself, Jack seeks out the friendship of local priest Father Benedetto and pursues romance with local woman Clara. But by stepping out of the shadows, Jack may be tempting fate.
An existential thriller. That has a basic story but because of the style. Not to mention that the films shows more of a lead up to his job as an assassin.
So that it humanizes him even though he doesn't speak much and it seems that no matter what action or who he meets, we wonder if they can be trusted or are ever really innocent.
Once the action does happen. That is when the film becomes captivating, but unfortunately quick. It is well staged but also treated in a simple matter of fact way.
As usual with director Anton Corbijn the beauty is all in the details. As his direction is built upon them and usually help to highlight the stories. Making them more layered and textured. What works here is the simple look that is stylish with lush visuals. There is a minimalism that is absent from modern cinema. So that makes the audience take note as usual a story like this would be part of a bigger production. Here it is more treated as a minor espionage tale.
The style of Corbijn who is a stills photographer by trade is exquisite. As he created beautiful visuals that you want to live in, but are stuck as only a witness. As this film plays out as more experimental on a blockbuster stage and canvas.
The film is stylish in the sense that he showcases the beauty in the simple.
The film feels like it was intended to be more of an 1970's European thriller. Only starring an American sometimes action star. Who is trying to stretch or like a European director allowed by a studio to make a film with an American star and a thriller premise given crate Blanche. George Clooney is good as he strong silent type who is more unassuming until called into action. His handsomeness helping him along the way. Though it is a film completely left up to director Anton Corgijn. It does seem to have a similar style accredited to director Steven Soderbergh who is a constant collaborator with star George Clooney. So that some might believe this to be another film the two of them worked on together. Instead of something different and with it's own identity.
The fllm seems more interested in the little details that go into everything and leading up to the bigger moments. As the film even takes it’s time as we watch him watch his prey and also set up an identity around town with a romance and striking up a friendship with a priest
The film is a throwback, but also the last of a dying breed itself. As this is one of those films that was Mis-budgeted and whose lack of success and made studios want to gamble less in films like these
I wish the film had a better reputation or was better remembered to show the gamble was worth it. It's noteworthy and a good film to discover, but it's far from the classic some. Ivy have been hoping for. Even though it is something different from the everyday