After being told that my reviews are too critical (“You don’t like anything!”), I wanted to like this film. Alas. The American is more boring than can be described. There is little dialogue, none of it interesting; little emotion, none of it satisfying. Scenery (Italian countryside) that should be glorious is muted and hazy. Long shots of Mr. Clooney sitting, staring, driving, stretching, doing push-ups, etc., that fail to advance the plot, were yawn-inducing, to say the least.
Speaking of plot: the movie opens with Jack (later called Edward) in a cabin with a woman. A little while later, they take a walk. Two men try to kill him, we are not told why. He kills them. Then he kills the woman. We don’t know who she is. Jack goes to Italy. He keeps calling someone who looks a lot like Scott Glenn but isn’t Scott Glenn. The Not-Scott-Glenn person tells him to go to a certain town. He does not go there, but goes somewhere else where he gets a dark apartment. He meets a priest, or rather, the priest keeps bothering him until Jack gives in and talks with him, and good things too, as without Father Benedetto there would have been almost no talking in the whole movie.
Not-Scott gives him an assignment: Jack meets another woman who wants him to build a specialized weapon. The whole rest of the movie is about him finding parts for this gun and leaving it for her. We can tell right off that she’s going to kill him. She has lots of opportunities, and I wish she would have used one of the earlier ones, so we could have left sooner.
There’s a prostitute. Long, gratuitous nude scene that is not interesting and does nothing for the plot, such as it is.
In the end everyone dies but the prostitute (Clara), and she takes the money Jack was paid to build the weapon that would kill him. Painful to watch. Very forgettable. Weird butterfly motif throughout. (I wanted the White Witch to whip out her wand and zap ’em.)
So, we left this movie not knowing who Jack is or who he works for, why people are trying to kill him, why the Mossad-looking woman (who changes her hairstyle several times, but we can still recognize her!) wants to kill him, and why she goes to such weird lengths to have him make the weapon she will use on him. Husband-of-Mine said, “Let’s go home and watch Bourne. I have to get this one out of my head.” Agreed.