One of the films that I’ve been silently rooting for all year long is Anton Corbijn’s spy-thriller The American starring George Clooney. The trailers don’t seem to indicate anything different than a run of the mill undercover aged spy movie, but with Control director Anton Corbijn at the helm and Focus Features doing the distribution, I suspected that something deeper was afoot.
My suspicions seem to be somewhat correct as Alan Bacchus of Daily Film Dose has released the first full-length review of the film. In Bacchus’ 3 and a half star review he makes a point to say that this movie is not another Jason Bourne or Salt-like film. On the contrary he predicts that the film likely won’t play well with the Vampire Sucks type surface level audience:
The fact is The American couldn’t be a more audience-unfriendly genre film. But for viewers looking for a more thoughtful introspective thriller, The American will be a breath of fresh air. The film features no other recognizable actors except for Clooney, though director Corbijn assembles and impressive group of actors with immensely interesting faces, particularly the Italian beauty Violante Placido, who is impossibly gorgeous and nude half the time.
Bacchus also directs much of his praise to the film’s star and only recognizable name – George Clooney. The proven favorite with the Oscar voting crowd, Clooney just might find himself back on the shortlist with his muted performance in The American. According to Bacchus, this is not the smooth-talking confident Clooney that we are accustomed to:
Clooneyâ€™s treatment of the professional killer, treads on the Jean-Pierre Melville world crime, borrowing from Melville’s rich filmography of stone cold cops and robbers films in the 60â€™s, specifically â€˜Le Samuraiâ€™ which would become John Wooâ€™s main influence on â€˜The Killerâ€™. Like Alain Delon, Jack who speaks only when necessary and only those words necessary to convey his information he needs to do his work. Of course, he lives in a bare apartment, free of any distractions, has eyes of an eagle and can sense and react to danger like a antelope in a forest.
If the film fails with audiences the way that Bacchus predicts the film might not be an Oscar contender, but we shall find out in a few short weeks if The American has what it takes.
Check out the full review and let me know if it stokes your interest in the film.