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Terry's Takes

Movie Review: THE AMERICAN

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In spite of its title and the presence of George Clooney, "The American" is really a European film directed by a Dutchman.

It's being advertised as an action packed thriller, but it's really a slow paced art film about a  hit man who realizes he has to change his life.
      
"The American" is beautifully shot and Clooney's acting is superb,  but many people looking for action film thrills may find it boring.

The clips released to the media make "The American" look exciting, but the whole movie contains just three straightforward action scenes.  

Instead the film is an absorbing character study of a troubled assassin who wants to stop killing people.
The  problem is: his employers can't allow that, so his life is under constant threat and he doesn't know if he can trust anyone. And yet he's at a point in his life where being without friends is not really an option.

Mainstream audiences may appreciate the unusual amount of nudity and sex in this film. Clooney's beautiful Italian co-star appears topless for many minutes, and Clooney himself shows off his muscled torso, but  overall, "the American" is more artistic than commercial.

For me "The American" is a fascinating throwback to the kinds of films I enjoyed in the 1970's.
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 If you want to see a great film and you can appreciate drama that's both intense and disturbing, check out "Animal Kingdom," an Australian movie about a disintegrating crime family.
      
Guy Pearce is probably the only actor you'll recognize in the film, but "Animal Kingdom" is  terrific, a near masterpiece by a first time director.
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And finally, "Winter's Bone," the top prize winner at the Sundance Film Festival, opened in Kahala this weekend. It's the next film I plan to see.