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The American
Directed by Anton Corbijn
Produced by George Clooney
Grant Heslov
Anne Carey
Jill Green
Ann Wingate
Written by Rowan Joffe
Martin Booth (Novel)
Starring George Clooney
Violante Placido
Thekla Reuten
Paolo Bonacelli
Music by Herbert Grönemeyer
Cinematography Martin Ruhe
Editing by Andrew Hulme
Studio Smokehouse Pictures
This Is That Inc.
Greenlit Productions
Distributed by Focus Features
Release date(s) September 1, 2010 (2010-09-01)
Running time 103 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $20 million[1]
Gross revenue $50,041,598 [2]

The American is a 2010 American thriller film directed by Anton Corbijn and starring George Clooney, Thekla Reuten, Violante Placido, Irina Björklund, and Paolo Bonacelli.[3] It is an adaptation of the 1990 novel A Very Private Gentleman by Martin Booth. The film opened on September 1, 2010. A trailer for the film was released on May 3, 2010.



Jack (George Clooney), an assassin, is relaxing in a remote cabin in Sweden with his lover, Ingrid (Irina Björklund). As they walk on a frozen lake, Jack detects a sniper, who opens fire as the couple run to safety. Jack kills the sniper and then Ingrid, as well as another armed man on a nearby road. He then flees to Rome where he contacts an associate named Pavel. Pavel insists that Jack cannot stay in Rome and gives him the keys of a Fiat Tempra and sends him to Castelvecchio, a small town in the mountains of Abruzzo. Jack becomes nervous, and, disposing of the cell phone which Pavel had given him, flees to nearby Castel del Monte.

While he is hiding out there, Jack is befriended by an elderly priest, Father Benedetto (Paolo Bonacelli), who pressures him to seek absolution, something which Jack, now going by the name Edward and posing as a photographer, resists. Jack contacts Pavel, who sets him up with another job. He meets with a woman, Mathilde (Thekla Reuten), who wants him to build a custom-designed sniper rifle for an assassination. After a detailed discussion they agree that not only the weapon would have a sound suppressor and the magazine capacity of a submachine gun, but that it would also be compact enough to fit in a briefcase after being dismantled. Jack then begins meticulous work on the weapon, combining mail-ordered components with his ingeniously designed hand-crafted components. He also starts patronizing a prostitute, Clara (Violante Placido). Jack meets with Mathilde to test the weapon he has made. Mathilde is impressed by the accuracy and relative silence of the weapon, but she asks for a few more alterations.

While having coffee one day, Jack bumps into Clara and a friend. Clara invites him on an actual date, and the two begin to deepen their relationship. Later that night, Jack realizes that he is being followed by the same people who tried to kill him in Sweden. An assassin follows him, but Jack notices, ambushes, and then kills the assassin as he flees. After the incident, Jack begins to become suspicious of Clara when he finds a gun in her purse and sees her meeting with some men. He takes her on a picnic, where he confronts her about her pistol. Clara explains that she has the gun because of a number of assaults on prostitutes which have occurred in the area, and that the men were cops investigating the case.

After talking to Pavel one last time, Jack agrees to deliver the weapon to Mathilde as his last job, but at the last moment he re-opens the briefcase and modifies the rifle one more time. At the drop off, Jack becomes suspicious that Mathilde plans to kill him when she excuses herself to go to the bathroom. Before anything can happen, a busload of school children arrives, giving Jack cover, and the two go their separate ways. While driving away, Mathilde is contacted by Pavel, who asks if she has killed Jack. She informs him no but insists that she is following Jack and will kill him.

Jack meets Clara in the crowd at a local religious festival. He asks her to go away with him and she joyfully agrees. Meanwhile, Mathilde is lurking on a nearby rooftop, with Jack in the sights of the weapon he has just delivered to her. However, when she tries to shoot at him, the weapon misfires from him earlier tampering with it, grievously wounding Mathilde. Jack, hearing the rifle shot, tells Clara to go to the place where they had picnicked and wait for him. He runs to and confronts Mathilde, dying on the pavement, and asks her who she works for. Before Mathilde dies from her wound, she answers Jack's question: "The same man as you... Jack." After she dies, Jack leaves.

As he leaves he notices he is being followed by Pavel, who had arrived earlier. Pavel opens fire, but Jack whips around and fatally shoots Pavel. As Jack drives desperately to meet Clara, he realizes blood is flowing freely from a bullet wound in his abdomen. As he arrives at the picnic spot, Clara smiles with joy, but Jack collapses across the steering wheel. The camera pans in the direction of some trees, where a small, white butterfly ascends toward the sky.



The film score was written and composed by German singer-songwriter (and longtime friend of Anton Corbijn) Herbert Grönemeyer. Grönemeyer is also famous for his role in the German film Das Boot (1981). A 1967 hit song called "Window of My Eyes" by the Dutch rock band Cuby and the Blizzards is played over the ending credits. The aria "Un Bel Di Vedremo" from Puccini's Madame Butterfly can be heard in the background of one scene.


Filming took place in Castel del Monte, Abruzzo(AQ), Italy, Rome, Italy, Sulmona(AQ), Abruzzo, Italy, Campo Imperatore(AQ), Abruzzo, Italy. and Östersund, Jämtland, Sweden among other locations. In the movie Jack drives a Fiat Tempra.


The first official poster was released on June 17 and the second official trailer on June 19, 2010 and was attached to Jonah Hex, Grown Ups, Inception and The Other Guys.[4][5]



Critical reaction

The American received a mixed to generally positive response from critics, garnering a 65% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 132 reviews with an average score of 6.3/10. [6] Its consensus states "As beautifully shot as it is emotionally restrained, The American is an unusually divisive spy thriller—and one that rests on an unusually subdued performance from George Clooney." [6] Similiarily, another review aggretator, Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating from 0-100 of top reviews from mainstream critics, calculated an average score of 62 based on 35 reviews. [7] Rolling Stone's Peter Travers gave the film two and a half stars, writing director Anton Corbijn "holds his film to a steady, often glacial pace", and is of "startling austerity".[8]

Roger Ebert gave the film four stars, writing, "Here is a gripping film with the focus of a Japanese drama, an impenetrable character to equal Alain Delon's in "Le Samourai," by Jean-Pierre Melville."[9] Leonard Maltin called it a "slowly-paced, European-style mood piece, short on dialogue and action and long on atmosphere" and a "thoughtful, intelligent film".[10]

Box Office

The film grossed $13.1 million opening at #1, ahead of Machete which grossed $11.4 million on the Labor Day weekend. As of September 5, the film has grossed $16,114,000. It grossed $26,750,000 domestically as of September 11, 2010.[2]


  1. ^ Fritz, Ben (September 2, 2010). "Movie projector: 'Machete,' 'Going the Distance' and 'The American' go head-to-head-to-head". Los Angeles Times (Tribune Company). Retrieved September 2, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b "The American (2010)". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2010-09-05. 
  3. ^ Kaufman, Amy (May 5, 2010). "Preview review: Clooney goes dark in 'The American'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 11 May 2010. 
  4. ^ "The American Official Poster". The Film Stage. June 17, 2010. Retrieved June 17, 2010. 
  5. ^ "The American Official Trailer #2". The Film Stage. June 19, 2010. Retrieved June 19, 2010. 
  6. ^ a b "The American Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved 2010-09-05. 
  7. ^ "The American Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More at Metacritic". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 2010-09-05. 
  8. ^ "The American". Retrieved September 6, 2010. 
  9. ^ "The American (R)". Retrieved September 4, 2010. 
  10. ^ "film review: The American". Retrieved September 6, 2010. 

External links

Simple English

The American
Directed by Anton Corbijn
Written by Rowan Joffe (screenplay)
Martin Booth (novel)
Starring George Clooney
Thekla Reuten
Bruce Altman
Irina Björklund
Paolo Bonacelli
Violante Placido
Distributed by Focus Features (USA)
Release date(s) September 1, 2010
Country United States
Language English
Official website
Allmovie profile
IMDb profile

The American is a upcoming 2010 thriller-drama movie that was based on the novel A Very Private Gentleman by Martin Booth[1]. The film was directed by Anton Corbijn[2]. The film was shot in Italy and Rome.


  • George Clooney as Jack
  • Thekla Reuten as Mathilde
  • Bruce Altman as Larry
  • Irina Björklund as Ingrid
  • Paolo Bonacelli as Father Benedetto
  • Violante Placido as Clara


Other Websites


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