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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars butterflies and rifles...a priest and a prostitute...
Have you seen "The American" with George Clooney? Confused by butterflies and rifles? It's a beautifully filmed movie...majestic mountains, snow scenes, hilltop villages. Set in Sweden in the early scenes but shifting to a medieval village in the hill country of Northern Italy for the remainder of the film. Although the critics say the only thing American about...
Published 16 months ago by janebbooks

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars Suspension of disbelief
Suspension of disbelief is worked overtime as George brings mayhem to a sleepy village and despite a death amongst the locals the coppers don't think to question the only stranger in the district i.e. The American. So predictably sexist the way George deigns to show a bit of bum crack yet Violante has to do the "full monty" to get the part. If you can get past the...
Published 3 months ago by M. N. Pearson


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars butterflies and rifles...a priest and a prostitute..., 20 Aug 2013
By 
janebbooks (Jacksonville, FL USA) - See all my reviews
Have you seen "The American" with George Clooney? Confused by butterflies and rifles? It's a beautifully filmed movie...majestic mountains, snow scenes, hilltop villages. Set in Sweden in the early scenes but shifting to a medieval village in the hill country of Northern Italy for the remainder of the film. Although the critics say the only thing American about the film is the title and Mr. Clooney, they are rating the movie three out of five stars probably for the cinematography.

The film is an adaptation of the 1990 book by British writer Martin Booth (1944-2004)) entitled A VERY PRIVATE GENTLEMAN: the book explains all. Booth's tale is a character study about a loner who is no "gentleman": it is also a tragedy following events in the life of a gunsmith who sells his services to assassins. The style is partly in the form of classic confessional writing, as the protagonist seeks to explain the relevance of his choice of profession. The time of the story seems to be late 20th century, more or less similar to the year of publication. The story is written in the first-person narrative from the point of view of the main character, who is known as Edmund or Signor Farfalla.

There are only three major characters in both media (perfectly cast in the film especially George Clooney as Farfalla):

....Signor Farfalla "Mr. Butterfly" is a middle-aged man from a country where English is spoken as a first language. He is loner who paints miniatures of butterflies and has traveled to the area to capture a unque native specimen. He is also a "shadow-dweller," a technical weapons expert who creates and supplies tools for high-level assassins. He is a lecturer of sorts in the novel, who is not apologetic about his profession: he sees the need for people who kill to change the world for the better. In the film, Farfalla is consumed by a feeling of doom over the use of his weapons...and vows that he will retire after finishing the current product.

...Father Bendetto is the local Catholic priest in the Italian village. He befriends Farfalla, and they discover a common interest in wine, food, and discussion and debate.

...Clara is a young Italian student. She meets Farfalla when he becomes her regular customer in the local bordello.

THE AMERICAN is a movie that will view better after reading the book! Even reading the reviews of the book will enlightened you. The main differences between the novel and the film are the aesthetic tone and the ending. Both endings are satisfactory...but only after reading the novel and viewing the film adaption...can one choose a favorite...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This a film that is short on discourse - BUT has lashings of atmosphere, 14 May 2013
By 
Amazon Customer "Sussman" (London CA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The American [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
The protagonist is reserved and very skilled at keeping his real job a secret, and is aptly played by unusually subdued performance from George Clooney, the exception being his need for female companionship. A man of few words, his work seems to encompass being a gun for hire, but his skills set also extends to making custom-making firearms for other Assassins. Through a series of near fatal incidents he is forced change locations rapidly as he tries to find out who is trying to kill him thus unfolds a moody thriller with majestic backdrop of the Italian countryside and a sting in the tale.

This film is not for everyone's tastes, as the film is short on discourse and little is really explained to the viewer - BUT it has lashings of atmosphere and amazing scenic photography of the Italian countryside. When the action comes it is intense and rather like a series of rapid punches. The Blu-ray has good extras and the picture quality is very good too. A film, which for me - is well deserving of a good four stars, and dare I repeat myself again that this is not for everyone as can be seen by some of the more lacklustre and negative reviews here on Amazon.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 'A TENSE THRILLER', 7 Sep 2014
By 
rbmusicman (U.K) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The American [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Must admit i have in recent years had mixed feelings in regards to 'George Clooney' movies, many have in my opinion been disappointing, and then, he gives us a 'gem'
often film trailers show the one or two scenes that make a film look better than it is overall, however i'm pleased to say that this film is as good as it looked.
In my opinion this film is one of 'George Clooney's' best role in reletively recent times.(Another being 'The Decendants')
He plays 'Jack' who 'constructs' precision weapons for 'hit's'
Throughout the film you do get the feeling, despite having gone to a remote Italian town, that he's being watched, he is a target.
He falls for prostitute 'Clara' (Violante Placido) and wants this to be his last job, but will he be allowed to step down.
The film is a tense affair that should keep you interested.
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24 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Slow paced but comes to a great crescendo, 19 Dec 2010
By 
J. Morris "Josh" (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The American [DVD] (DVD)
Based on the novel "A Very Private Gentleman" by Martin Booth, The American follows the story of Jack (George Clooney - Up In The Air) an assassin and weapon smith. After his cover is blown in Sweden, Jack flees to Italy and is sent to lie-low in the picturesque hill-top town of Castel Vecchio. Jack's paranoia means he is distrusting of his handler and relocates to the nearby Castel del Monte. Unused to foreigners in their midst, the locals dub him "The American" despite Jack's insistence he is here solely for the photographic panoramas the town affords. After befriending the local priest rather inadvertently, Jack begins to relax in his new surroundings until his handler gives him another job involving another assassin (the beautiful Thekla Reuten - In Bruges), will he take it? Or will he leave his old life behind for the seemingly fleeting happiness that Castel del Monte grants him?

A deep sense of menace sets into this film from the get-go and how could it not with an opening scene revealing some pretty telling issues about our protagonist despite only a handful of words being said. It is this sense of foreboding that carries this film in its slower parts and it's not without its lulls. However there is something of a wordless character development going on in the lulls as we see Jack is a rigorously methodical man, exercising religiously and the artisanal-like devotion he gives to his trade. His relationship with the handful of locals he befriends are all telling about some part of his psyche and helps us understand the type of man Jack is. For these reasons the American has become a fast-favourite of mine, the story is linear and progresses at a decent enough pace yet has is almost hypnotic in the way it unfurls. Clooney's performance is stellar, despite being low on dialogue; I was enthralled by the character. This is a modern-day story of the The samurai.

Having said all that, the simple linear premise and the serenity of this film can let your attention wander during the 1 hour and 45 minutes this plays out in, but if you are as captivated as I was by the initial scenes and frantic scrabbling trying to put the handful of jigsaw pieces you are given together in some sort of meaningful way you will be entertained. Short on dialogue but long on atmosphere, The American will divide its audience. All I can say is be patient and bear with it and you stand a good chance of enjoying a very arty tale!
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32 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Marvellous slow-burning European film, 3 Mar 2011
By 
Gary Parker (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The American [DVD] (DVD)
If you're expecting a brash American blockbuster with George Clooney wise-cracking his way through it, think again.

This ia a very European film, beautifully observed, beautifully filmed, slow moving and sometimes low on dialogue. George Clooney gives a superb, subdued performance as the insular assassin hiding out in stunning Italian countryside. The Italian and Belgian leading ladies are also superb - and ever so sexy.

I feel this is a marvellous film, one of the best of 2010. However, I accept that some movie-goers would have preferred a brash guns-and-explosions American extravaganza, and those people are likely to be a little puzzled and perhaps even slightly disappointed. This film probably has more in common with "Cinema Paradiso" than with "Ocean's Eleven". A teen movie it ain't.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rather good, 6 May 2011
By 
BruceB (Surrey, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The American [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
I'm not a Clooney fan, I should say that from the start.

I saw this film on a plane and was gripped from the start. Minimalist film, moody, with some stunning females and really excellent photography.

Italy looked like the real thing, not a travelogue.

Characters were all believable, drama was high and often surprising, ending was unexpected, but then I like happy endings.

One of the best films of the moment, in my opinion, and I saw many of them on the long outbound and return flights.

Well recommended and I will buy it on Blu-Ray, if only for the imagery.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Inexorable, 25 Oct 2011
By 
Charles Vasey (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The American [DVD] (DVD)
This is an interesting and atmospheric film though I did resort to the fast forward now and then (forgive me, for I know what I do). The hero is a hit man who is being hit. The film therefore consists of a lot of checking terrain before moving, and a lot of doubling back. It also contains a number of clues and red-herrings which I must avoid in the review. Putting aside the DAY OF THE JACKAL technical piece (he said hiding his Dremel drill set) this is a film about being hunted. It lacks the driving pace of DAY or of NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, and in this respect resembles fishing rather than shooting. The hit men sent to kill our hero are notably inept, tracks in the snow tsk tsk, but they do (in the best Sundance Kid tradition) keep coming.

As George Clooney is the anti-hero there are a number of layers of babes (if you'll pardon the pun) all of which adds to the sense of unease and some excellent red herrings.

If you don't mind long films that develop slowly (with nice locations) this is a beaut. But if you prefer your action fast and furious I would recommend you give it a miss
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2.0 out of 5 stars Suspension of disbelief, 31 Aug 2014
By 
M. N. Pearson "Malcolm" (Malvern UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The American (Blu-ray)
Suspension of disbelief is worked overtime as George brings mayhem to a sleepy village and despite a death amongst the locals the coppers don't think to question the only stranger in the district i.e. The American. So predictably sexist the way George deigns to show a bit of bum crack yet Violante has to do the "full monty" to get the part. If you can get past the gratuitous sex, nudity and violence then the film is a suspenseful slow burner quite with a slightly gripping but predictable climax. Some nice scenes of the countryside though. A missed chance to make a genuinely good film.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well shot, dark, subtle, intense., 20 Jun 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The American [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
I can't really understand the average reviews given to this excellent film except that it isn't your typical Hollywood blockbuster I guess. The cinematography and timing of the shots as directed by Anton Corbijn are outstanding. They mirror the dark and intense character portrayed by Clooney, an assassin who has become disillusioned. Is he seeking redemption? The shots of the Italian countryside add to the dark beauty of this film which sits in contrast to the nature of murder. Violante Placido was new to me and it was worth watching just for her...but I may be biased. If you need loud explosions every 30 seconds to keep you entertained this is not for you. If you like subtle character development combined with intense and beautifully dark cinematography you will not be disappointed.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Slow paced but comes to a great crescendo, 25 Feb 2011
By 
J. Morris "Josh" (London) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The American [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Based on the novel "A Very Private Gentleman" by Martin Booth, The American follows the story of Jack (George Clooney - Up In The Air) an assassin and weapon smith. After his cover is blown in Sweden, Jack flees to Italy and is sent to lie-low in the picturesque hill-top town of Castel Vecchio. Jack's paranoia means he is distrusting of his handler and relocates to the nearby Castel del Monte. Unused to foreigners in their midst, the locals dub him "The American" despite Jack's insistence he is here solely for the photographic panoramas the town affords. After befriending the local priest rather inadvertently, Jack begins to relax in his new surroundings until his handler gives him another job involving another assassin (the beautiful Thekla Reuten - In Bruges), will he take it? Or will he leave his old life behind for the seemingly fleeting happiness that Castel del Monte grants him?

A deep sense of menace sets into this film from the get-go and how could it not with an opening scene revealing some pretty telling issues about our protagonist despite only a handful of words being said. It is this sense of foreboding that carries this film in its slower parts and it's not without its lulls. However there is something of a wordless character development going on in the lulls as we see Jack is a rigorously methodical man, exercising religiously and the artisanal-like devotion he gives to his trade. His relationship with the handful of locals he befriends are all telling about some part of his psyche and helps us understand the type of man Jack is. For these reasons the American has become a fast-favourite of mine, the story is linear and progresses at a decent enough pace yet has is almost hypnotic in the way it unfurls. Clooney's performance is stellar, despite being low on dialogue; I was enthralled by the character. This is a modern-day story of the The samurai.

Having said all that, the simple linear premise and the serenity of this film can let your attention wander during the 1 hour and 45 minutes this plays out in, but if you are as captivated as I was by the initial scenes and frantic scrabbling trying to put the handful of jigsaw pieces you are given together in some sort of meaningful way you will be entertained. Short on dialogue but long on atmosphere, The American will divide its audience. All I can say is be patient and bear with it and you stand a good chance of enjoying a very arty tale!
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The American [DVD]
The American [DVD] by Anton Corbijn (DVD - 2011)
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