I love good foreign films, great characters, great acting, great scenery, sometimes a little slow but as Fred Armeson doing Joy Behar says, “so what, who cares” as long as your getting your money’s worth. “The American” starring George Clooney and a terrific cast of actors unknown to American audiences has all the above ingredients. George plays Jack, a wary steely eyed assassin and weapon maker who defines the term loner. Director Anton Corbjin dribbles the information for us to put together about Clooney’s character so that we are always wondering where this might be going. I like the grim faced, muscular and lean Clooney here more than the wisecracking leader he plays in the “Oceans 11 ” series. Jack’s big flaw is that he sometimes drags his female companions into very dangerous situations. He takes refuge in a scenic medieval town in the mountainous Abruzzo region of Italy after an attempt on his life in Sweden. In the process of fulfilling a weapons order for another mysterious assassin, played with sexy skill by Thekla Reutan, Jack falls in love with a prostitute, Violante Placido, an entanglement with potentially tragic results.
The Italian hills and towns will have you checking Kayak for the next flight to Rome, although the towns seemingly are occupied by only George and whoever else is in the scene. The scenes of Clooney manufacturing an assassin’s gun are done with skill and seemingly authenticity, not that I’ve ever seen such a gun made, but I bought it.
Not for the kids, because the sex scenes are as authenitic as the gunsmithing, but if you don’t mind skipping the usual firepower of Hollywood and enjoy an Italian travelogue with your thrills, “The American” is a fine choice.