“The American” is a brilliantly dark and brooding film that breathes life into an otherwise forgetful slate of recent releases. Director Anton Corbijn helms the picture with his patient, methodical directing style, fusing plenty of burning passion with sparse action.
Jack (George Clooney), an aging hit man, decides to hang up his holster when he falls in love with Clara (Violante Placido). When Jack’s boss learns that he wants out of the business, the hitman realizes his newfound romance hinges on his own survival.
With its minimalistic dialogue, fluid camera movements and sparsely populated setting, the movie mirrors European cinema. This element adds a much-needed realism rarely found in American spy movies, resulting in a plot filled with external conflict and opposing desires.
Editor Andrew Hulme leaves shot lingering, making the audience exacerbated, exploiting the slow pace even more. Thankfully, the score by Herbert Grönemeyer creates a soundscape full of smooth, pleasing rhythms and dramatic, pulsating beats that redeem Hulme’s missteps.
Those audience members expecting blood-spilling, hair-raising action will be disappointed. However, the quality storytelling and well-thought-out film techniques trump random gun battles any day.
“The American” was written by Rowan Joffe and Martin Booth and directed by Anton Corbijn.