Cogill reviews 'The American' (R)

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by GARY COGILL

WFAA

Posted on September 2, 2010 at 12:35 AM

Updated Thursday, Sep 2 at 12:43 AM

"The American" is a painfully slow adult movie masquerading as a thriller, but playing more like a finely-tuned character study.

George Clooney never smiles and rarely speaks as a melancholy assassin hiding out in Italy with hopes of retiring. One problem: Everyone he meets eventually dies, and so the reluctant killer falls for a local prostitute, played well by Violante Placido.

"The American" is well-acted, even well-made, but that doesn't matter if you are easily bored or have a short attention span. This is a very odd film, because the ad campaign says the opposite.

Not much happens in this R-rated brood-fest other than long stretches with almost no dialogue or music, and an occasional chase scene.

Every frame of "The American" speaks of European cinema; slightly existential, stark in nature, and filled with foreshadowing. It will test your patience, and just might make you think.

You'll either run from the theater in revolt or embrace its minimalist approach.

Both responses are correct.

E-mail gcogill@wfaa.com

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