When you go to see films like "The Bourne Identity" you expect non-stop action. George Clooney has done his share of spy thrillers, including his Oscar-winning performance in the gritty "Syriana." In "The American," he takes everything down to a slow simmer that is long on riveting suspense but short on the usual rip-snorting action.
Clooney plays a professional hit man who also specializes in providing complex weapons to other assassins. It's apparent at the start of the movie that Clooney has now become a serious target himself. He must seek shelter while still taking care of the demands of his customers.
His attempt to hide from his pursuers while still working with hired killers provides tons of tension. But it's all done with a subtle touch and stunning visuals of the Italian countryside where he tries to lay low. Violante Placido plays a gorgeous prostitute who complicates his situation. But every character provides possible treachery and questionable loyalty in equal measure.