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.
There’s revolution in the air, but one lady’s not for turningTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Rihanna 'nude pictures' claims emerge on 4Chan as hacking scandal continues
- 2 Kim Kardashian 'nude photos' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence scandal
- 3 'F*ck it, I quit': KTVA reporter Charlo Greene quits live on air in spectacular fashion
- 4 Free U2 album: How the most generous giveaway in music history turned PR disaster
- 5 Scotland could still declare independence – even without referendum, says Alex Salmond
Downton Abbey fans unimpressed by Kindle sponsorship adverts
Cilla, episode 2, ITV, review: Sheridan Smith continues to shine
Kendrick Lamar announces new song 'i' following leak
Free U2 album: How the most generous giveaway in music history turned PR disaster
Top Gear to launch in France after Jeremy Clarkson banned from driving on roads
Scotland could still declare independence – even without referendum, says Alex Salmond
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell called officer a 'little s**t', claim court documents 'exposing ex-Chief Whip's 'record of abusing police'
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God