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Leftist George Clooney’s “The American” Is Refreshingly Apolitical

Posted on September 9 2010 3:00 pm

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What is refreshing about George Clooney is that he is an A list movie star who is not afraid to take a chance. Of course, he has a solid career that is likely impossible to destroy (unless he takes advice from Mel Gibson).What isn’t refreshing; however, is his consistently hard-Left politics. Regardless, Clooney remains a solid presence in any film he plays. On some level, he is one of the last true, great movie stars around (when he leaves his leftist politics at home).

His latest film, The American, is less political that some of us predicted. We have seen Clooney unafraid to tackle political films in the past, some of which are pretty good (see Good Night, and Good Luck). Leftism in films is not nearly as annoying when it’s done well (and not blatant agitprop). Luckily, The American spares us of the usual lectures from foreigners who tell us how much we suck. By now we know that the hit man character can become a sort of cliché; however, Clooney shows us that it can still be part of a useful story.

Clooney plays Jack (also known as Edward), a hit man who is lost in his own existence. We first meet him in an intimate setting at a remote cottage in Sweden. The opening sequence brilliantly sets up the mood as well as the unnerving tension of the film. Jack decides to take on “one last job” though the film manages to focus less on that cliché and more on the atmosphere around this lonesome character.

Of course, the one pitfall to every hit man who works alone is the allure of love. Jack finds himself distracted by a prostitute (Clara played by Violante Placido) who is in a similar position as one who wants out of her present career. Jack sees this as an opportunity to save not only himself but someone else in the process. However, this is always easier said than done (as seen in The Professional).

The film takes its sweet time in showing us instead of telling us who these characters are. The stories that unfold as Jack continues his work are only there for us to learn more about him specifically. The American is a character study in the truest sense, although there are certainly several intriguing characters in the film, everything we see ultimately teaches us about Jack. The people and places he interacts with provide a window into his soul (should you read the film as deeply as I did).

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