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"The American" Blu-ray Review

George Clooney is an assassin on the run after being ambushed by Swedes on a frozen lake (that looks like it's across the lake from where Hanna and her dad's place; heh) in The American, the latest effort from noted (and IMO totally overrated) photographer Anton Corbijn.

After the attack kills his lady friend - though you'll be shocked by the circumstances of her death - he is directed by his boss to head to an isolated mountain village in northern Italy to await his next mission: To construct a custom rifle for a woman who is planning a hit of her own. While marking time, he seeks companionship at a brothel and (of course) falls in love with his favorite whore, Violante Placido, who looks like this:

I know that the guy falling for some babe whom he met the way she meets all the other guys she's boinking - by paying her - is a hoary (heh) trope, but to believe that Clooney, even with his charisma dial turned all the way to the left, needs to pay for women makes disbelief suspension difficult. Yes, he's a loner under instructions to "not make friends" and all glowering and taciturn, but it's not like he's Patton Oswalt. (Never mind the whole conceit that prostitution is a good way for women to meet nice guys who'll take them shopping, as Bongwater once observed on their The Power of Pussy album.)

With very little action, The American is a languidly-paced film to the point of bordering on boring. What keeps you awake is the lovely cinematography and compositions that are well-represented by the Blu-ray as well as copious amounts of skin from Placido. (She'll be in the Ghost Rider sequel, but I don't think she'll be as naked there.) As far as plot, it's pretty much slight enough to fit on a business card and lacking in surprises overall. Corbijn keeps the mood going, but there's simply not enough to latch on to here as the story chooses skeletal inferences over engaging characters and exposition.

As I noted above, the Blu-ray looks great, but as far as extras go, it's only got some deleted scenes (most are just extended versions) and a brief making-of featurette; I didn't listen to Corbijn's commentary track.

Score: 5/10. Rent the Blu-ray if you're inclined; otherwise catch it on cable.

Oh, those wacky Canuckians.


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