"The American", directed by Anton Corbijn and starring George Clooney, is the story of a skilled, yet aged assassin, Jack, who is physically and mentally tired of a lonely life on the run.
In the opening of this thriller, Jack's dedication to his job is made evident to the audience in a gasp-worthy moment. After being nearly shot in Sweden, Jack heads back to Italy to determine how he was discovered. Being in a line of trust-no one work, he disregards instructions from the head of his assassin squad and heads off to a little Italian village to finish his last job.
During his stay in the village, Jack has various personal and professional encounters. He comes to befriend a priest (as much as an assassin can befriend someone, let alone a priest), fraternizes with a prostitute and deals with his client while outrunning the Swedes who have followed him back to Italy. All a day in the life for Jack.
Though this film has some action sequences, the overall mood is very subdued, as is Clooney's acting. His character is so run down from living a lonely life that he possesses none of the charisma we've come to know from Clooney. Jack is tired, lackluster and feels hopeless.
While the film has some twists, the plot moves slowly with moments like Jack describing and building weaponry or spending many a moment sitting silently in a cafe waiting to meet a client. Add the lifeless character to the slow plot, and you come away feeling this is not the role for Clooney and perhaps the movie needed to quicken its pace to keep the audience engaged. The movie picks up at the end, but it's too late to salvage the doldrum of the previous hours.