The American (2010) - Rotten Tomatoes

The American (2010)



Critic Consensus: As beautifully shot as it is emotionally restrained, The American is an unusually divisive spy thriller -- and one that rests on an unusually subdued performance from George Clooney.

Movie Info

Story: Academy Award winner George Clooney stars in the title role of this suspense thriller. As an assassin, Jack is constantly on the move and always alone. After a job in Sweden ends more harshly than expected for this American abroad, Jack retreats to the Italian countryside. He relishes being away from death for a spell as he holes up in a small medieval town. While there, Jack takes an assignment to construct a weapon for a mysterious contact, Mathilde (Thekla Reuten). Savoring the peaceful quietude he finds in the mountains of Abruzzo, Jack accepts the friendship of local priest Father Benedetto (Paolo Bonacelli) and pursues a torrid liaison with a beautiful woman, Clara (Violante Placido). Jack and Clara's time together evolves into a romance, one seemingly free of danger. But by stepping out of the shadows, Jack may be tempting fate.-- (C) Focusmore
Rating: R (for violence, sexual content and nudity)
Genre: Mystery & Suspense, Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Rowan Joffe
In Theaters:
On DVD: Dec 28, 2010
Box Office: $35.6M
Focus Features - Official Site


George Clooney
as Jack/Edward
Paolo Bonacelli
as Father Benedetto
Thekla Reuten
as Mathilde
Lars Hjelm
as Hunter #1
Björn Granath
as Hunter #2
Giorgio Gobbi
as Man on Vespa
Silvana Bosi
as Old Cheese Vendor
Guido Palliggiano
as Waiter (Market)
Samuli Vauramo
as Young Swedish Man
Antonio Rampino
as Postmaster
Angelica Novak
as Hooker #3
Raffaele Serao
as Barman (Town Square ...
Sandro Dori
as Watier (Locanda Grap...
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The American

Critic Reviews for The American

All Critics (211) | Top Critics (44)

At its best, the film's silence and unrevealing mood of observation remind you of 'The Passenger' or Paulo Sorrentino's 'Consequences of Love'...

Full Review… | November 29, 2010
Time Out
Top Critic

A lush canvas of verdant riverbanks and dim, foreboding streets at night. The anxious stillness gets under your skin.

Full Review… | April 28, 2015
Philadelphia Weekly

Outstanding cinematography and score and excellent acting make for a remarkable movie. The American is a must-see.

Full Review… | November 11, 2013
We Got This Covered

That the film through these slow, poetic paces remains engrossing, engaging, and ultimately oddly affecting is a testament to Clooney's terrific performance.

Full Review… | October 13, 2013

George Clooney delivers a strong but subdued performance in this slow-paced character study.

Full Review… | January 5, 2013
Big Hollywood

The filmmakers seem to have forgotten that it takes more than a brooding assassin to engage the audience for the full runtime of the film. Moreover, if that character isn't involved in an interesting narrative, they'll have even less reason to care.

Full Review… | September 23, 2012

Audience Reviews for The American


Corbijn focuses on slowly building a suffocating tension in this quiet, contemplative and technically astonishing drama that grabbed me from the first scene till the very last - and it benefits from a more than appropriate low-key performance by George Clooney.

Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

the more ive thought about this film, the more ive fallen in love with it. the american is a very non american film. in fact, if you dont have a lot of exposure to french or italian films, or if you do but you dont care for them much, you wont like this film either. the film really feels like an effective blend of antonioni and melville. clooney proves once again why he is one of our best actors, and the film has a wonderfully patient and cerebral tone and pace. the limited dialogue and character development drives me nuts in most american films, but it is a staple for european style thrillers, and with this stylized approach it works well. i cant say enough about how well this film was shot, and although some might not find the pacing effective it worked for me because of the classics of this mold that it reminded me of that i enjoy so much. there were a few moments where just a little more dialogue would have improved certain scenes and the film was not without a few of the cliches of this genre, but overall it stands as a personal favorite of mine.

danny d

Super Reviewer


A weapon smith specializing in custom rifles for assassination purposes falls for a beautiful Italian prostitute despite his extreme trust issues. The American is very much a thriller from the old school; it has a very 70s, continental vibe that reminded me a little of The Day Of The Jackal as the low key, almost laid back approach is a million miles away from the wobbly-cam and SFX orientated efforts of the ADHD generation. It is far more reliant on mood and characterisation and as such finds a perfect central performance from the ever reliable Clooney who can always be trusted to invest his time in projects of quality. His tentative relationship with Violante Placido side steps the usual saccharine of contrived cinematic romances and the story feels measured and honest without ever resorting to unnecessary visual spectacle. It looks fantastic and the air of subtlety and sophistication that permeates the entire film gives it a maturity so often lacking in modern cinema. Like Clooney himself, The American is intelligent, stylish and an all round class act.

xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

The American Quotes

Ingrid: Why would you have a gun?
Jack: Who were the Swedes?
Pavel: I've made arrangements to leave town while I sort this thing out.
– Submitted by monsieur r (4 years ago)
Mathilde: Goodbye, Mr. Butterfly.
– Submitted by Eskimo t (4 years ago)
Pavel: Don't talk to anyone, and above all, don't make any friends, Jack. You used to know that.
– Submitted by Raymond W (4 years ago)
Clara: You are a good man, but you have a secret.
– Submitted by Raymond W (4 years ago)

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