The American Reviews

  • The American is like a paperweight sitting on your head for two hours.

    Julian Roman — MovieWeb

  • The American ends the summer not with a bang but an existential whimper.

    Owen Gleiberman — Entertainment Weekly

  • 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.

    A.O. Scott — New York Times

  • Clooney plays the enigmatic title character with mature confidence.

    Claudia Puig — USA Today

  • While cinema-lovers can cheer a director willing to buck the fashion for sensory overload, The American can't rightly be called a success.

    Ann Hornaday — Washington Post

  • 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.

    Wesley Morris — Boston Globe

  • 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.

    Mark Olsen — Village Voice

  • 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.

    Joe Neumaier — New York Daily News

  • 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.

    Joe Morgenstern — Wall Street Journal

  • It does for hit men what Up in the Air did for frequent-flying corporate terminators, minus the comic tang.

    Amy Biancolli — Houston Chronicle

  • This is Serious Clooney, starring in a deliberative film that could have sprung from mid-'60s France or Italy.

    Chris Vognar — Dallas Morning News

  • If you're expecting a star-propelled thriller with the usual bob, weave and one-two punch, this isn't your ticket.

    Lisa Kennedy — Denver Post

  • The good news, though, is that eventually The American does get to where it wants to be, and becomes a rather improbably but genuinely moving story.

    Glenn Kenny — MSN Movies

  • Here is a gripping film with the focus of a Japanese drama, an impenetrable character to equal Alain Delon's in Le Samourai, by Jean-Pierre Melville.

    Roger Ebert — Chicago Sun-Times

  • I enjoyed the film for its surfaces most of the way. Its pictorial assurance is undeniable. So is its destiny as an audience-divider.

    Michael Phillips — Chicago Tribune

  • George Clooney produced and stars in this international spy thriller, which he probably thought of as existential but which registers onscreen as a giant bore.

    J. R. Jones — Chicago Reader

  • The film from Dutch director Anton Corbijn is as meticulous, enigmatic, and restrained as its protagonist.

    Carrie Rickey — Philadelphia Inquirer

  • 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.

    Colin Covert — Minneapolis Star Tribune

  • With Clooney it's an interesting project. Without him, it would simply be boring.

    Bill Goodykoontz — Arizona Republic

  • 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.

    Robert Koehler — Variety

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