The American blu ray review (DTS HD MA 5.1)
This is one show that tends to divide the viewers, if you liked Solaris and it's slow burn nature, then you will appreciate its more delicate development of the story. Otherwise the more meandering pace will have you reaching for the fast-forward or worst yet, wondering "are we there yet?".... but even as we use this oft quote tourist phrase, the views of Italy are so stunning, that it made me look up where Castel Del Monte and other places were that were depicted in the movie.
The American is a story about a master assassin and gunsmith, who moves to a small place in Italy after some people try to kill him. What follows is a suspense, thriller with a dash of romance thrown in and also a study of the life of the lonesome killer. Of course it is only possible in Hollywood to have someone as beautiful as Violante Placido play the hooker in a tiny small town, and the blonde-hot Thekla Reuten play another assassin. You get pretty up close and personal with George Clooney and peer deep into his lonely life as he struggles to survive, and live with a hand always on a gun even when he sleeps. He also struggles with the difficulty of not being able to find real friendship and his dalliances with the intuitive priest appear to be a way of making sense of his own personal demons.
The eye candy is not restricted to the actresses; there are some nice rewards. Even if you merely regarded this as a promotional video for the Italian tourist authority, you won't feel too bad as the visuals and vistas of the Italian countryside are stunning. There is none of that shaky Bourne-esque camera work, and instead you get bright colors showing the awesome scenery and the panoramic shots employed frequently allowed the full glory of the northern mountainous region of Italy to be displayed.
Camera work and picture quality on this show is excellent, but the sound is more reticent, and it is a talky, front heavy show, with sparing use of the rears. You do miss the fact that bass, and ambient sounds could have been engineered into the surround field to beef up the suspense, but the director simply keep it quiet, almost in a tribute to the book on which it is based (A Very Private Gentleman).
So should you buy, rent or avoid this?
I belong to the latter half, and found it as difficult to understand and long drawn as Solaris, so I would say, rent it first, and see if it fits your taste. But the vistas of Italy really made me want to fly there right away!
In case you were wondering:
Castel del Monte is a medieval and Renaissance hill town and commune in the Province of L'Aquila in northern Abruzzo. Located in the heart of Italy's Gran Sasso mountain range, the town is set into a steep hillside nestled beneath mountain peaks near the high plain of Campo Imperatore. Castel del Monte sits opposite the ancient mountaintop fortress of Rocca Calascio and faces Monte Sirente in the distance. It is located in the Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga National Park.