The American Reviews
The American is never less than gorgeous. And the oblique approach it takes to what is a fairly standard plot creates a mood of suspense quickened by the accelerated heartbeat of Herbert Gronemeyer's unobtrusive music.
Given the paucity of serious adult moviemaking that shows up in American megaplexes, it's almost ungrateful to turn up your nose when one arrives. But this isn't that serious a movie.
Despite its director's disinterest in letting people in, there is nevertheless something exciting about a movie this uncompromised, in which the big change from the book to the screen actually toughens up the story instead of watering it down.
The American, a movie as coiled as a snake and as still as a sleepy villa, is the rare grownup thriller that knows the link between peace and danger and the tension that comes from both.
Mr. Clooney's performance as Jack -- a last name would have made him less existential -- keeps you attentive, and the drama's seriousness finally earns your respect.
The American strains so hard to be European -- a slower, more intellectual cloak-and-dagger melodrama -- that it winds up feeling Canadian: more bloodless and chilly than thrilling.
Clooney may not have a hit this time, but he continues to apply considerable intelligence to his work as an actor, still trying to deliver something fresh and interesting for his fans.