The American

The American. It seems that critics are a bit mixed, but I’m with Ebert: I loved this one. It got billed as a semi-action-thriller. Yeah, there’s some killin’, but this is really more of a slow-burning mood piece like Le Samouraï. Or, say, a Sergio Leone western – there’s even a scene with the Once Upon a Time in the West McBain massacre playing in the background. This is not (just) about assassins doing jobs, but about an existential crisis–I detect some parallels in In Bruges, and in film noir like Blast of Silence and my beloved Out of the Past. Except this is set in sunny Italy. Great photography, absolute minimal soundtrack.

Some obvious detractions are the heavy-handed dialogue with the priest and also the–yep–hooker with a heart of gold. But still. Master craftsmanship from Anton Corbijn. I’ll probably watch it again soon. Coincidentally, the only movie I watched twice last year was Clooney’s Michael Clayton. The guy’s got great taste.