Sunday, January 23, 2011

Movie Moment- The American (2010)

So, when I first started writing out my thoughts about this movie, it was right after the movie ended and I wasn't that impressed. Initially, I felt like it was a highly stylized, visually beautiful, very slowly drawn out dud.

But then my evening continued, I went to bed, got up the next day and I was still thinking about it. A seed of a thought had planted and blossomed and after some reflection I realized the subtle power of the movie and have to say my first impression wasn't completely right.

The story is about an assassin (George Clooney) who comes out of hiding and to do one last job before retiring. The premise is simple. But what really stuck with me as I thought about it more and more was his inner turmoil and struggle against his chosen way of life. Clooney's portrayal is so good it's heartbreaking. You watch this man fight against himself as he repeatedly realizes what he had to give up.

I think that the 'less is more' approach around story content was at times infuriating. But at the same time there are some great small cues through the film that really shape the story and characters. Pay attention to Clooney's tattoos- they alone tell their own part of the character's story.

The music attempted to reflect the inner turmoil of the characters or the suspense of a chase and didn’t always correlate with the scene properly- this was distracting.

This movie is not an assassin action shoot out. Rather it is about the man behind the action and the sacrifices he has had to make. The movie also shows the power of love, that a life without it is hell and that love will always set you free.

Initially I was going to give this movie a 5 out of 10, but after thinking about more, I decided on 7 out of 10. I still wanted more context (some more 'why' behind the whodunit) and the music didn't mesh, but the story definitely stuck with me in a way that surprised me.

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