I love George Clooney. And I love director Anton Corbijn. So, naturally, I couldn’t have imagined a better place to escape the heat on a blistering Saturday afternoon than to the theatre which was showing The American, the second feature film from the acclaimed video director, starring Clooney.
Corbijn is best known for his music video work, as a longtime collaborator of groups like U2 and Depeche Mode. His feature film debut, Control, was a captivating portrait of Ian Curtis, the enigmatic and tortured lead singer of the band Joy Division, who took his own life on the eve of the band’s first-ever U.S. tour.
Unfortunately, The American is neither as captivating nor as excellent as Control. In fact, it couldn’t be a more distant reminder of Corbijn’s talents, which obviously lie solely in the musical arena. Out of his comfort zone, Corbijn has created a film in The American that is a tedious, one-dimensional and completely pointless tale that goes nowhere very slowly. A style that may work for a 3 ½ minute music video turns mind-numbing after an hour, and makes you long for simple things like dialogue and action. 2 hours of gorgeous shots of George Clooney looking pensive doesn’t a movie make.
I know the pickings have been slim in the theatres so far this summer, but The American is not the first sign of Fall. Instead, it is just another disappointing let-down by those I trusted.
Here’s a much better example of Corbijn’s work, which, funnily enough, shares the same theme, tone and visuals as The American, and you don’t have to shell out $12 to see it:
Depeche Mode "Enjoy the Silence"