Feature

The American

George Clooney plays a professional assassin on the run in Italy’s countryside.

Directed by Anton Corbijn
(R)

**

For his second feature film, ­photographer-turned-director Anton Corbijn has adapted Martin Booth’s A Very Private Gentleman, working in a “brand of arty formalism rarely seen outside cinema studies classrooms,” said Ann Hornaday in The Washington Post. While George Clooney brings considerable seriousness and intelligence to the role of a professional assassin on the run in Italy’s countryside, The American isn’t the thriller it at first appears to be. In fact, it “refuses to deliver action or thrills.” What we get instead is an exercise in genre and style, said A.O. Scott in The New York Times. Corbijn has “an eye for natural beauty and a practiced sense of composition.” But the precision of the filmmaking comes off as “fussy rather than invigorating,” especially given the story’s slow pace. Still, it’s a welcome change to see a filmmaker showing more interest in creating an aesthetic experience than a merely emotional one, said Dana Stevens in Slate.com. Corbijn at least deserves credit for delivering an “astringent antidote to the loud, frantic action movies that have been clogging our veins all summer.”

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