Cover Art and Menus: 9/10
I would have this as a poster,yes. However, I would like to remove the Clooney face and make it more generic. The menu is standard. This is a low energy description, but I really do like the cover. I had to subtract some love for the famous face.
- Deleted Scenes – There is nothing here that would enhance the movie. There is a little extra time with the women in a couple of scenes, but I think it works best without them.
- Journey To Redemption – This is a pretty good extra. It’s enough for me. Sometimes a movie just speaks for itself. This little behind the scenes does a good job of showing the director, Clooney on the set, and the origins of the story.
- Feature Commentary With Director Anton Corbijn – This guy is an artist of a filmmaker. He has a different perspective on the process so it’s worth another watch/listen.
- Digital Copy – Yes, it’s a digital copy. DO NOT watch it on your small device until you watch it on a big screen.
The Movie: 9/10
I am finding it hard to come up with new and creative ways of saying how much I like a movie. My vocabulary fails me, so I will go for gut reactions that might not be very flowery or lyrical. The American digs up a sense of satisfaction that is hard to come by with modern movies. There have been a few that fill that bucket for me similiarly. It’s not that they are all the same quality or I even like them equally, but movies like There Will Be Blood, Punch Drunk Love, Fargo, Broken Flowers, all just made my head spin with movie watching fulfillment.
The American has a steady pace. It’s got moments of in your face action, and then the appropriate amount of time to recover, regroup, soak up the beauty of it all. There are chilling moments, not the scary kind, but during these moments I take a long deep breath and I am thrilled for an instant that I love movies so much. The artistic direction is one of the best things about the movie, of course. I love art, and the director is a photographer so he designs each shot in a way that draws my eyes around kind of in a whirlwind of intentional compositional glory.
I won’t say it’s the best movie ever. The story is about a man seeking redemption. How borrowed and abused can a theme be in this world? The thing is, the man is played by George Clooney, who I don’t have a thing for but this time around my mind has opened. He fits the character so well that there are times I actually lose the Clooneyvision and I’m convinced.
The women in this movie mesmerize me. I don’ t know what else to say. A prostitute and an assassin who might be a bit too beautiful to convince my reality checker, but hey, it’s a movie. They steal the show. The priest is compelling as well, but I don’t have regard for religious figures. I’m more inclined to be moved by the life lessons of the prostitute or the assassin, go figure.
I have read through some reviews, briefly, and that’s not normal for me. I’ll be honest, I never read whole reviews. I just skim comments, and that’s so rare that this might be the first time in years I caught any chatter about movies. I just do not care what people say. The theme of most of these little blurbs is that it’s too lofty, pretentious, dour (That means sullen or gloomy. I had to look it up.) They throw a few intellectual filmish terms, or literary criticism terms, who knows where they get their brainwashing, but it’s like they can’t just enjoy things for what they are. I don’t love every movie and I do find flaws, even with The American. The thing is, that feeling, that satisfaction during those cautiously quiet scenes, watching the landscape and getting that film watcher sense of being there while noticing the smallest facial expressions and gestures, all comes together to make a lovely experience.
The well timed action sequences and their restrained resolutions add the spice to an otherwise already delicious plate of movie. 🙂 I have officially run out of things to say that won’t ruin any part of the movie, so you get a food related comment to finish off my little review.
Audio & Video: 8/10 (By Ascully)
If ever there was a film that needed to be viewed in high definition it’s The American. Director of Photography Martin Rhue and Director Anton Corbjin (who is a professional photographer) have made a film as that drips beauty from every frame. Take the awesome cinematography in Trainspotting but transplant that into Italy’s scenic countryside and that is what you get here. The transfer on the Blu-Ray disc maintains the director’s vision with a fine layer of grain that is only just visible and lots of detail in almost every frame. Even the dark scenes (which there are few) look incredible with lots of shadow detail and not a sign of black crush.
Audio is magnificent in a really subtle way. The movie has very little dialog but what it does have is crisp and clear. The amazing part is the subtle sounds of the Italian countryside. One such scene involves Clooney using the noise of the church bell to mask the fact that he is crafting a weapon. As the camera pulls out to show a long shot of the church, if you listen closely you can still hear him smashing down the hammer as each chime strikes. There are also a couple of moments where the audio will make you jump but to avoid spoilers I will refrain from mentioning them here.
Overall, The American is a movie that will polarize the type of audience that flock to a Clooney flick. I am not usually into Clooney’s smoldering style, but this movie literally blew me away.
I’m not sure this is a movie I would want to recommend to just anybody. I mean, it’s really good, really steady, somewhat different from your standard American action type movie. It’s one to save for the right people. I would say though that it’s a good one to watch with a silent partner, or recommend to someone who is a calm movie watcher. It’s well worth having it around for 20 bucks or so. If you are looking for a Clooney buzz, rent it and see how it goes. The extras are slim, so there’s no value for money in the time you will get to enjoy the full package, but overall I say it’s a keeper.
Overall Score 8/10