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.



Reviews Counted: 219

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Audience Score

User Ratings: 66,141


All Critics | Top Critics
Average Rating: N/A
Reviews Count: 0
Fresh: 0
Rotten: 0


Average Rating: 2.8/5

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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

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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 (219) | Top Critics (50)

  • 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


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
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
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
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

Going in, I had heard this was a boring film; on the contrary, it's an understated and authentic story (with a cliche ending, but what can you do?) about the untenable life of an assassin. I think the marketing department really got it wrong with this poster, and a lot of people were looking for more action as a result, but what the complainers missed was a strong performance by George Clooney (complemented by actors unknown in North America) and a minimalist approach to music and dialogue that allowed the camera to do the talking. I really enjoyed this one.

Daniel Perry
Daniel Perry

Super Reviewer

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