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The American
DVD disk
01.10.2011 By: Daniel Rohr
The American order download
Director:
Anton Corbijn

Actors:
George Clooney
Paolo Bonacelli
Violante Placido

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A hitman (George Clooney) comes to terms with the end.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
If THE AMERICAN starred any other actor it would probably be insufferable, but George Clooney has such a great presence that he elevates it to something I would at least consider good. It's a little deliberate at times (the pace does serve the overall vision of the movie though) and the ending is quite abrupt but it held my attention and was effective at showing the life and mind of an assassin nearing the end of his career.

The movie opens interestingly enough with some surprising bursts of violence. The opening caught me completely off-guard and does a great job of setting up Clooney's character. From there, we follow Clooney to his hideout in a small Italian town. We get to experience his life and learn how messed up and paranoid he is, despite his cool outward demeanor.

While in Italy, Clooney befriends an old priest, a female assassin and an impossibly attractive prostitute. The priest provides us some insight into Clooney's psyche and is generally just a great way to ground the movie in reality. The female assassin provides Clooney with his final job, which shows us how great a hitman he can be. And the prostitute is his way out of his job, to hopefully live a normal life. The movie spends its time building these relationships and showing Clooney working on his craft. The overall slow pace and focus on dialogue and following Clooney around makes the action scenes that do take place even more effective by contrast. All of this is set to an excellent score by Herbert Grönemeyer. It's sparse in all the right ways and does a great job at building suspense.

Lastly, it's really impossible to talk about THE AMERICAN without mentioning the awesome nudity. For the ladies, Clooney is shirtless and shows off his finely-toned middle-aged butt. Violante Placido steals the show though (from a skin standpoint) as the impossibly attractive prostitute and is more than willing to show the ample physical gifts she's got.
THE EXTRAS
Feature Commentary with Director Anton Corbijn - Corbijn sounds intelligent and provides some very good insight into his directorial choices, especially about the influence of Sergio Leone's films on the movie. I really wish Clooney was a part of the commentary (his GOOD NIGHT, GOOD LUCK commentary is fantastic) but this is a good track.

Deleted Scenes (5 mins) - A small group of deleted scenes with Clooney interacting with each of the other main characters in the flick.

Making of THE AMERICAN (10 mins) - Basic, studio-produced making-of.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
I liked it quite a bit. I can see how the deliberate pace may turn some audiences off but it's a refreshing change of pace from today's norm to me, beautifully shot and very well acted.
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