by David Schuster
Just one day after seeing "Machete" I took in "The American". This was like going from Usain Bolt running the 100 to Prince Fielder trying to run the bases. In other words, one movie was incredibly fast paced and the other was in slow motion to the point of being almost dour.
This is one of those movies that most critics have gone gaga over where as the casual fan just doesn't agree. I checked with a movie web site and saw that thirty-five critics gave it an average of three stars while a hundred movie goers averaged out at just one star. My star total is below.
George Clooney stars as an American hit man who practices his craft over in Europe. He plays this role almost like a later day Clint Eastwood who speaks in very short sentences and rarely smiles or shows any emotion.
He is on the run after a hit in Sweden and relocates to Italy where he checks into a small village to perform one last caper. The Italian landscape is stunning but hardly makes up for the lack of action much like Wrigley Field does not make up for bad baseball played inside it.
Eventually Clooney decides he wants to get out of his line of work and plans to run off with a local hooker who he starts to have feelings for. Every actor, other then Clooney, is from Europe and unknown to most American fans but they all play well. Unfortunately this movie moves at such a snails pace that it kills any buzz you might have building for it.
I will say that "The American" could have, and should have, been much better then it was. Originally I was going to give it two and a half stars but then the ending came and it was just awful. So I subtracted a star for that leaving it with a run-scoring single, essentially a weak one and a half star rating. In this instance the casual fans were right and the vast majority of critics (wake up) were wrong..