Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The American (2010)

Starring: George Clooney, Violante Placido, Thekla Reuten
Directer: Anton Corbijn

Fans of this blog might know that around this time last year we did two posts devoted to the trailers that we saw when seeing a movie in theatres. Wile it was suppose to become a semi-regular feature, we have not done any since then and do not plan on doing so. This is mostly because movie theatres tend to run the same trailers over and over again so there is not a lot of new material to work with, and also due to the fact that it takes up that much more time to write and post. For me at least, there is another reason related to creativity for not continuing the segment: trailers can be deceiving. Of the seven that I reviewed for "The Other Guys" edition (http://docuniverse.blogspot.com/2010/08/movie-trailers-other-guys-edition.html), I have since seen five of them. "RED" and "Due Date" were basically what I expected them to be like, but "Devil" and "The Social Network," which I did not want to see and thought I would hate if I did, both ended up being at least decent. And then there was...this movie. I originally thought, "Hey, it's a spy thriller with George Clooney. I like spy thrillers and I like George Clooney. This should be pretty good." (that's not exactly what I wrote for the post, but you get the idea). Yeah...I was wrong about that. Very, very wrong.

I'm going to go ahead and paraphrase the plot summery in one paragraph, so if you do not want it to be spoiled for you, don't read it. Yes, one paragraph; believe me, that's all I need.

Clooney plays a gunsmith named Jack, but I am not going to refer to him as his character or any of the others by their names because they essentially don't exist, as you will see shortly. Clooney is first shown with a woman (big surprise) at a remote cabin in Sweeden. He soon gets ambushed by three assassins, but he takes them all out before turning the gun on his lady friend, killing her as well. This is admittedly a very impressive way to start off the movie as it grabs your attention. It will not hold. This is how the rest of the film progresses: George Clooney travels to and drives around Italy. George Clooney eats. George Clooney encounters a weird and nosey priest. George Clooney works out. George Clooney has sex. George Clooney drives...again. George Clooney puts a gun together in (another) unnecessary scene. George Clooney meets spy and does target practice. George Clooney obsesses over butteries for reasons that are never explained. George Clooney kills a guy who is trying to kill him. George Clooney falls in love. George Clooney wants out. George Clooney cannot get out because he is too far in and has to do one last mission. George Clooney drives (notice a pattern here?). George Clooney eats some more. George Clooney kills more people trying to assassinate him. George Clooney drives (oh, come on...) and finds out he has been fatally wounded. George Clooney drives (.....) to place where his lover is. George Clooney dies...while driving. The End.

Why, why, why, why, WHY?!!!!! Look, I like it when movies take their time with developing a scene, like they did in "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly", "Once Upon a Time in the West" (which is shown briefly in one scene; why couldn't I be watching that movie?!), "2001: A Space Odyssey", Clooney's own critically-polarizing "Solaris", or most recently 'The Tree of Life". But all those films (some of which this film was supposedly trying to emulate) either had a point to them or they were trying to draws viewers in by allowing them to gain from the experience. This film doesn't do that. There is nothing to be gained from it because the plot contains a stereotypical storyline with bland characters and uninteresting lines (remember my last review about these three factors? You need all or some positive combination of these or else it doesn't work). As a result, the pasting is just artsy for the sake of being artsy and boring as hell. It shows some nice images of Italy, but other than that, it is just 1 hour and 45 minutes of George Clooney...doing things (like DRIVING!!!), and nothing more.

Okay, too dragged out, bland characters, uninteresting lines...yeah, that's kind of it. I really cannot go into any more detail about this because everything wrong with this film is pretty straightforward. It's just one of these movies that has close to nothing to offer and tries to overcompensate by acting deep when it clearly is not. I didn't do a "Worst Films of 2010" list back in December, but if I had and I had seen this movie at the time, it definitely would have taken the "Number 1" spot. Avoid it at all cost.

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