The American is a curiosity. The Dutch director, Anton Corbijn, used to ply his trade as a photographer – and you can tell. Filmed in an idyllic Italian Alpine village, the audience is treated to a visual feast: gorgeously lit cobbled streets; expertly composed rural tableaus; perfectly framed shots of actors’ perfect frames.
All very lovely, but this ain’t an art exhibition. What else happens? Not much, sadly – and the slim pickings of plot are all fairly preposterous. George Clooney, a lethal assassin, is ‘lying low’ in the most obtrusive way possible – hanging around in trendy suits and sunglasses, befriending the local priest, partaking in midnight gunfights with dangerous Swedes. The local prostitute he’s shagging turns out to have seen Pretty Woman, and with her heart of gold she shows him how to love. But – oh no! – it’s too late, as George is double-crossed by the wrinkly Bond-esque boss to whom he unwisely reveals his retirement plans.
A beautiful, empty shell of a film.