DVD: The American (15)
Friday 01 April 2011
George Clooney has, essentially, three acting settings: 1) Gurn and grin like a hyperactive Cary Grant (Burn after Reading, Intolerable Cruelty); 2) Smile slyly and play cocky (One Fine Day, Ocean's Eleven); 3) Grimace an awful lot (Michael Clayton, Syriana).
In Anton Corbijn's The American, adapted from Martin Booth's A Very Private Gentleman, we have setting three, with added grimace. Gorgeous George is Jack, a dead-eyed assassin who, in the opening snow-filled scene, is besieged by Swedish hitmen. He deftly disposes of them along with, inexplicably, his entirely innocent girlfriend. He's a professional, see, and that means bumping off people who get "too close". After this barbaric act, it's pretty tricky to empathise with Clooney's sullen "anti-hero". And nothing he does subsequently merits much sympathy. Other than the fact "he's lost his edge" and he wants "out" of the killing game.
His paymaster, Pavel, suggests that Jack take to the Italian hills to hide out. Once there, the charmless, taciturn hitman makes guns, shares some wine with a local padre and visits a brothel, "befriending" Clara (Violante Placido), a preposterously beautiful prostitute and the only likeable character in the whole film.
After Corbijn's moving Control, The American, although gorgeously shot, isn't emotionally engaging. It tries to ape the stylish Alain Delon in Le Samouraï but fails miserably.
Simon Calder looks at communities fighting back against the poachers
Arsenal 1 Everton 1: Substitute equalises with six minutes to go
booksGeese, gorillas, grandads... and growing up
Arts & Ents blogs
Downton Abbey Christmas special trailer released
Norman Rockwell’s 'Saying Grace' tops record week of art auction sales in US
Metallica play Antarctica: What other bizarre gigs have musicians played?
The man who made Femen: New film outs Victor Svyatski as the mastermind behind the protest group and its breast-baring stunts
Back from the dead? Family Guy's Brian Griffin 'to make a comeback' after fan petition
- 1 A forgotten episode in Russian history leaves links with the Philippines
- 2 Turning up the voice of America
- 3 The man who made Femen: New film outs Victor Svyatski as the mastermind behind the protest group and its breast-baring stunts
- 4 Mass murder in the Middle East is funded by our friends the Saudis
- 5 Japan cracks down on leaks after scandal of Fukushima nuclear power plant
- < Previous
- Next >