I mean, really, this was just embarrassing.
At the end of this a chap in the row in front of me turned to his girlfriend and said "There was more corn in that than there was in your popcorn". Now, that might not be the wittiest thing you've ever read and it may not really make much sense but the sentiment is spot on. There are films, like "Avatar", which are horrid because they have no real purpose other than making money...they are glorified merchandise advertisments and don't pretend to be anything else (despite what you might think if you listen to James Cameron blubbering on about "imperialism")...but something like "The American" is trying really hard to be "meaningful" and "artistic"despite being utterly bereft of meaning and completely artless.
What makes this particularly painful is that it was directed by Anton Cobijn.
Anton bloody Corbijn!
This is the man who was responsible for some of the most perfect photographs in the history of pop music...just look at his images of Joy Division and then try to disagree with me.
He also directed some of the most gorgeous music videos ever with Depeche Mode.
All of that might not have meant much in terms of making a film were it not for the fact that his directorial debut was "Control" which is one of the most visually arresting and emotionally brutal films you are ever likely to see.
How a director can go from something as perfect as "Control" to something as flawed as "The American" is beyond me.
This film has a lovely cast...George Clooney, Irina Bjorklund and Paulo Bonacelli are all fine performers but they are bogged down in a deathly slow plot; there is a difference between serious, delicately paced and just boring when it comes to pacing and Corbijn has stepped over the line. They are also hindered by Corbijns desire to mimic the serious seventies thrillers like "The Conversation" which is admirable but in his mind seems to simply mean myriad shots of mounds of pubic hair, hideously stereotyped women and "philosophical" discussions between a flawed priest and a hitman.
How could I forget the butterflies?
So, Clooney is pictured asleep with a book of butterflies on his chest...then he spots an endangered butterfly...then we see that he has a butterfly tattoo...then the prostitute that he falls in love with (seriously) starts calling him, can you guess? YES! MR BUTTERFLY!
It's all very deep and meaningful you see...butterflies, priests, assassins, pubic hair.
This is so depressing.
There are people, I have no doubt, who will try to defend this but really there is no defense; it's a horrible, horrible, mistake of a film that everyone involved should just apologise for.
If you want to see a film about a tortured gun for hire then look out for "The Hard Way" starring Patrick McGoohan which is icy cool, suspenseful and, unlike "The American" doesn't trade in cliche or stereotypes. Trust me on this, your life is too short for "The American"...spend your time more wisely.