George Clooney has gained such high celebrity status that the actor can basically have his pick of film projects to star in. It seems as though Clooney decided to skim through the script for The American due to the fact this film was so horrible. The thought of Clooney knowingly taking on such a bad script leaves one to wonder about the future film projects he will decide to work on.
The film begins with possibly the most action and suspense this film has to offer. Jack (Clooney) is spending a quiet evening with a woman when they are fired upon while taking a walk through winter snow. After killing the shooter, Jack kills Ingrid (Irina Björklund), the woman he was with and leaves town since his job is done there. Killing Ingrid seems to bother Jack and he is sent to spend some time in Italy until his next assignment. After a few paranoid moments, he leaves the town his boss Pavel (Johan Leysen) sent him to and spends time in another quaint town in the Italian mountains. Here Jack is given his seemingly last assignment; to construct a gun for Mathilde (Thekla Reuten) to her precise desires. Jack seeks out the sexual services of a woman, Clara (Violante Placido), which is a prostitute he immediately falls in love with and then suspects is hired to kill him.
The American fails to get to the point until the last 15 to ten minutes. The beginning of the film is a series of scenes that could have been omitted. A scenery overlooking the cabin in which Jack and Ingrid are dwelling inside. An unwarranted long scene in which Jack is driving his car was chosen as the proper time to run the opening credits which felt more like a bathroom break than anything. The opening credits would have been more befitting to run while Jack is shown exercising to keep himself fit and sharp. Due to this reason, the approximate five minutes it took to show Jack exercising were added as a means to prolong the movie so it would make the 90 minutes of running time.
While you’re fighting to stay awake watching the film, there is a short chase scene in which Jack climbs on to a Vespa motor bike and chases down the driver of a car and kills him instantly by getting the man into a chokehold. After this short lived moment of possible, but failed, excitement, you have to wait until the very last five minutes of the film for anymore excitement to occur.
The American would have thrived better as a short film. The fluff that was put into this movie to make it a full length film leaves you wondering what better things you could have been doing in those approximately 90 minutes you’ve just wasted watching this movie. The first encounter Jack and Mathilde have in which they go into technical depth about guns, has a pretentious feel to it that will invoke incessant yawning. The film lacks an elaborate storyline with complex character. There is no emotional involvement with the monotone characters that the predictable ending leaves you with a blank stare rather than in shock.