Media

Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - January, 2011

ARTICLE INDEX

"The American" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Tyler Stripko

movie-january-2011-the-american

Synopsis

Jack (George Clooney) is a professional assassin/gunsmith with a long history of successful jobs.  After his most recent “work,” he heads to the Italian countryside to lay low for a while.  Looking for a change, Jack calls his handler to tell him that he wants out of the business, but agrees to take one last job.  While working on his final project, Jack meets Clara, an Italian prostitute (Violante Placido) who changes his outlook on life.  Now that he has something to look forward to Jack must safely extricate himself from his past, something that may prove very hard to do.

Specifications

  • Universal
  • 2010, Color, Rated R, 1 Hr 45 min
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Codec: Not Specified
  • 1080p
  • 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio 
  • Starring: George Clooney, Violante Placido, Thekla Reuten, Paolo Bonacelli
  • Directed by Anton Corbijn
    Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Yes
  • Sex: Nudity
  • Language: Bad

Commentary

While this movie may not be for everyone, I enjoyed it.  Clooney is superb in the role of Jack and the supporting cast backs him up well.  The settings and cinematography are beautiful and really make you feel like you are in the heart of the Italian countryside.  The plot is simple, but it takes its sweet old time building.  This is where some viewers may dislike the film.  Slow and deliberate is the name of the game here, with each scene working towards the climax.  There is very little action until the finale.  Personally, I thought the pacing was fine, but it does start to drag a bit over the 1 hour, 45 minute run time.   Still, a very fine effort and one of Clooney’s best acting jobs to date.

Technical

This is an excellent overall presentation on Blu-ray.  Picture quality is very good, with excellent clarity and detail in nearly every scene.  The picture is sharp and contrast is deep.  Colors are slightly under saturated across the board, but black levels and shadow detail are superb.  This makes the Italian countryside look like it resides under a permanently overcast sky, which is fitting for the mood of the film.  The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack does its job well, with a nice balance.  Dialogue shines through nicely and the soundtrack carries a nice subtlety.  Surround use is infrequent, but does its job when called for.  LFE usage is also subdued, but gunshots carry appropriate weight and punch.

Extras

Included on the disc are deleted scenes, a “making of” featurette, and a director’s commentary.  The disc is also BD-Live enabled.