The American


The American

Critics 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.



Total Count: 220


Audience Score

User Ratings: 66,129
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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) Focus


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 Bar)
Sandro Dori
as Watier (Locanda Grapelli)
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News & Interviews for The American

Critic Reviews for The American

All Critics (220) | Top Critics (50) | Fresh (143) | Rotten (77)

  • The American doesn't set out to be anything other than a twisty, deliberate film that relies on suspense and paranoia more than car chases and gunplay. The problem is that even on its own artsy terms, the film falls apart long before the end.

    Feb 7, 2018 | Full Review…

    Caryn James

    Top Critic
  • It purrs evenly, like the engine of a luxury automobile, with a cool, sleek satisfaction at how stylish it is. That said, it is pretty stylish...

    Nov 29, 2010 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • As with watching the equally compact, detached Cary Grant, it's a great pleasure just to see the stone-faced Clooney going about his work exuding mystery and inner torment...

    Nov 29, 2010 | Full Review…

    Philip French

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

    Nov 29, 2010 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

    Dave Calhoun

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • One of the most annoying things about the film is its smugness.

    Nov 29, 2010 | Rating: 2/5
  • Haunting and insistent, The American is one of the best films of the year.

    Nov 29, 2010 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The American

  • Jul 29, 2013
    In a way, <i>The American</i> is the tragic version of <i>In Bruges</i>, subtracting the dark humor and the clever comedic one-liners. My main hypothesis is that this solid minimalist crime film with an aura of loneliness is considerably underrated because it didn't have that extra appealing factor that <i>In Bruges</i> had (the humor and the characters bordering on the absurd), yet both are tragedies, both have impossible romances and main characters surrendering to the charms of a woman. Wonderfully shot, the film shuts down the musical score when it doesn't have anything extra to offer, and properly comprehends how powerful silences can be in tense situations and in the desolate landscapes of the countryside. Eroticism and violence become more vivid, and you can almost hear the dangers lurking in every corner. Do not let the Letterboxd rating distribution or the total IMDB score confuse you. It is better than you think because you don't really know how this film is given its improper marketing. Take my word for it. Thank God the film was not action-packed. 73/100
    Edgar C Super Reviewer
  • Jun 14, 2012
    A tightly wound, perhaps overly aesthetic film that keeps one firmly in its grasp for the entire duration. 'The American' is a character study of a man whose career choice has forced him into an emotional vacuum; he trusts no-one and is forever looking over his shoulder. It's a beautifully shot film, the camera capturing the best of rural Italy and Sweden, the slow pacing of the film adding to the sense of atmosphere. Not a lot happens in the film, but it is strangely engrossing, chiefly because of the ambiguity of it all. One doesn't exactly know the predicament of Clooney, someone is after him, but who? The viewer has confidence in the assassin's dexterity in combat and his awareness of his surroundings, but we also suspect his assailants are just as sharp. All performances were fine, but something that struck me about the film was that the cast is too attractive and too stylish considering the type of people they are playing. Does George Clooney look right for the role? I'm not sure. Is Thekla Reuten right for her role as a ruthless assassin? I don't think so, she's just too attractive. A slight credibility issue perhaps, but not a particularly pressing one; its healthy supply of sexy, scantily clad European women could certainly be seen as a merit of the film.
    Jack H Super Reviewer
  • May 14, 2012
    great in places but drawn out and unusually paced. the overall story of the film is a little light and characters aren't fleshed out for extra depth. Could of been one of the better spy films but misses its chances
    Brendan N Super Reviewer
  • Mar 24, 2012
    The movie runs slowly and in the end doesnt male sense im afraid.
    Scott G Super Reviewer

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