First Posted: 9/13/2010 7:06:39 PM | Last Updated: 9/13/2010 2:05:52 PM
George Clooney, as The American
Jack (George Clooney) and his girl leave a cabin in the winter woods of Sweden for a little stroll in the snow. Shots ring out, tensions rise, and you get a little quickening of the pulse as you prepare for an action-thriller that just does not materialize.
Turns out that Sweden didn’t work out for Jack, so he heads to Italy to hide out from Swedish assassins who aren’t so eager to let him get away. Jack calls his contact, Pavel (Johan Leysen) and tells him that he’s ready to leave the business (we’re never quite sure what the business is, but we know it’s very dark, very violent, and everyone is very, very bad). Since Jack is in hiding anyway, Pavel talks him into one last mission, where all he has to do is build a custom assault gun for a beautiful buyer, Mathilde (Thekla Reuten).
Jack, who has by this time taken the name Edward for no apparent reason, since the Swedes have had no difficulty finding him, agrees to do the job. In this first half hour or so of the film, there is little dialogue, and lots of beautiful scenery, so if that’s your thing, your attention may not have wandered as yet. Mine, unfortunately, did.
While in a little village in Italy, Jack/Edward, is constantly looking over his shoulder. He can’t sleep, is uncommunicative, and is paranoid for good reason. The local priest, Father Benedetto (Paolo Bonacelli) makes overtures at friendship to the troubled American, and Jack/Edward visits a brothel where he meets Clara (Violante Placido), a beautiful prostitute.
Dialogue is still kept to a minimum, and we are left to discover the characters mainly through their actions, expressions and a rather dreary, creepy musical score. There is no background into the lives of any of the characters. Clooney is convincing as a murderer who is weary of his lonely life, but I, for one, couldn’t work up a lot of sympathy for him. It’s hard to feel sorry for a guy who’s still killing people, working on a weapon for another murderer, and spending his free time with a prostitute. He wants to quit because he’s lonely and afraid. Who cares?
Unfortunately, you know from the beginning of this movie that there’s no good place for it to go. Things are never going to work out, because the characters are just too far gone. If you want to go down Misery Road with them, maybe this movie is for you. It certainly wasn’t my cup of tea.