The movie “The American”, despite the presence of George Clooney, is hardly a blockbuster. It showed only in one theatre in Zürich, at five. This was actually one of the smallest cinema rooms I have been in ages. There were at most a dozen people. One of the reasons I wanted to see this movie Mike Kermode’s film review gave it quite a good review.
The movie tells the story of a an american who stays in a small mountain town in Italy, hiding. Slowly he makes relationship with the locals, in particular the town’s priest, while at the same time he resumes his shady activities torn between remorse and his love for his works. The movie has gorgeous visuals, of the mountain landscapes, the labyrinthine stone streets of the town. The graphical style has a subtle feeling of the seventies, faded brown colours, simple tracking shots. Even the pic-nic scene had that timed feeling. I found this style suited the movie well, as the small mountain town stayed in that epoch anyways: the only person to use a mobile phone is situated in Roma. There is also an interesting contrast of having a town full of hard faced italians, where the real bad guy is the smiling american.
While this is certainly not a masterpiece, I found that the The american was a nice, no frills drama, with good acting and a clear sense of what it was about.