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The American

The American

By Patrick Samuel • July 13th, 2011
Static Mass Rating: 5/5
THE AMERICAN (Blu-ray)
Universal Pictures

Release date: April 4th, 2011
Certificate (UK): 15
Running time: 105 minutes

Director: Anton Corbijn
Writer: Rowan Joffe
Music: Herbert Grönemeyer

Cast: George Clooney, Irina Bjorklund, Lars Hjelm, Paolo Bonacelli

There are some films, so littered with dialogued but failing to convey anything of real value, that they seem to parody the very idea of “story” to the point of absurdity. Then there are films with so very few words and yet they somehow manage to tell so much more.

The American is one of the latter. It stars George Clooney as Jack, an assassin who is constantly on the move and always alone.

The American

We start off in the snowy mountains in Sweden where what seems like a romantic getaway is revealed to be one of Jack’s assignments. But after things go wrong he retreats to the small Italian town of Abruzzo to lie low.

He takes on a new assignment and vows it’s his last; to build a gun for to a mysterious contact, Mathilde (Thekla Reuten). He also, reluctantly, becomes friends with an old priest, Father Benedetto (Paolo Bonacelli). Benedetto senses he is a man who has committed many sins and offers him confession, but eventually it’s Benedetto who ends up confessing to Jack.

The American

Another friendship is forged with a local prostitute, Clara (Violante Placido). They share passionate nights together and he pays for her time, but she too senses he has many secrets.

As Jack works on building the gun, he inevitably falls in love with Clara and doesn’t deny to Benedetto that his suspicions might be true. In the peacefulness of Abruzzo Jack knows it’s only a matter of time before the Swedes come looking for him.

The American

Clooney as Jack is certainly a revelation. In his previous roles he’s usually a talkative guy, so to see him acting, not with words, but with every fibre of his being is truly remarkable.

The American has a very European feel and look to it; it’s a film rich with tension, atmosphere, solitude and a painful kind of beauty. The cinematography is exquisite and captures the Italian village in a melancholy light that stays throughout as Jack grapples not only his conscience but his heart.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

  • Audio Commentary
  • Deleted Scenes (5:33)
  • Journey To Redemption: The Making of The American (10:51)

With hints of Jean-Pierre Melville’s Le Samouraï (1967), The American is minimalist yes, but it’s also a masterful example of great storytelling and filmmaking.

Patrick Samuel

Patrick Samuel

The founder of Static Mass Emporium and one of its Editors in Chief is an emerging artist with a philosophy degree, working primarily with pastels and graphite pencils, but he also enjoys experimenting with water colours, acrylics, glass and oil paints.

Being on the autistic spectrum with Asperger’s Syndrome, he is stimulated by bold, contrasting colours, intricate details, multiple textures, and varying shades of light and dark. Patrick's work extends to sound and video, and when not drawing or painting, he can be found working on projects he shares online with his followers.

Patrick returned to drawing and painting after a prolonged break in December 2016 as part of his daily art therapy, and is now making the transition to being a full-time artist. As a spokesperson for autism awareness, he also gives talks and presentations on the benefits of creative therapy.

Static Mass is where he lives his passion for film and writing about it. A fan of film classics, documentaries and science fiction, Patrick prefers films with an impeccable way of storytelling that reflect on the human condition.

Patrick Samuel ¦ Asperger Artist

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