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post #1 of 25 Old 12-24-2010, 07:58 AM - Thread Starter
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attachment.php?attachmentid=194025&d=1292249280
The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109943&d=1210373647

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

88






Studio and Year: Universal - 2010
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 105 minutes
Genre: Thriller

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: VC-1
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, Spanish/French DTS 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Starring: George Clooney, Thekla Reuten, Johan Leysen, Violante Placido
Directed by: Anton Corbijn
Music by: Herbert Gronemeyer
Written by: Rowan Joffe based on the novel “A very private gentlemen” by Martin Booth
Region Code: A,B,C

Blu-ray Disc release Date: December 28, 2010







"Redemption can come at a price.."



Film Synopsis:

Academy Award® winner George Clooney is The American in this sexy suspense thriller from director Anton Corbijn. After a job ends more violently than expected, Jack (Clooney) retreats to the Italian countryside and accepts one last assignment to construct a deadly weapon for a mysterious contact. But when he pursues a relationship with a beautiful local woman, he may be tempting fate by stepping out of the shadows. Jack soon finds himself in an escalating battle to escape from his secretive past,



My Take:

The American isn’t your garden variety thriller. I found it to be a sort of expose that examines the psyche of an assassin who has spent much of his adult life living an elusive and dangerous existence. The framework of the story is very basic and closely follows Jack (Clooney), a skilled killer and machinist who makes his living creating/modifying weapons for himself or others to use in his line of “work”. Jack is obviously hardened by his past, but manages to maintain a soft spot that he reserves only for select people, who just happen to women. With treachery afoot after his last assignment Jack’s discontent with “the life” comes to a head. When his contact Pavel gives him his next job (in Italy) he tells Pavel that it will be his last. Jack arrives in Italy but finds himself distracted by reflection. Seeking female companionship he meets Clara, a local prostitute, whose zest for life sparks something in Jack and they have an affair. He also makes the acquaintance of Father Benedetto, a priest, who senses his confliction and attempts to help him see the error of his ways by seeking redemption. Unfortunately redemption doesn’t come easy for a life spent like Jack’s. His troubled past is a constant reminder of the inevitability of his future. His only choice is to endeavor to complete this last assignment and get out. The looming question for Jack is...does anyone ever really get out?

Initially I didn’t know what to make of this film. I guess I envisioned more of a “traditional” film but found this to be a purposeful character study that has sort of a one dimensional narrative. The pacing is slow and deliberate while action/intrigue is kept to a minimum. The air of existential angst is notable as the focus remains on Jack’s struggle to come to grips with living on the precipice of happiness but in the shadow of paranoia and fear. This is where the film excels as George Clooney is definitely in his comfort zone and owns the character. This is a beautifully shot film that uses locations that are as essential to the story as are the characters. The film succeeds because of the total sum of its parts in my opinion. Those expecting more of a typical higher octane (Jason Bourne) thriller probably won’t appreciate The American. I think that I “got it” but this may not be a film for everyone.



Parental Guide:

The rating is for violence, sexual content and nudity.






AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

Audio: 84



  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699




Video: 92


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

The American comes to Blu-ray from Universal Studios HE featuring 1080p VC-1 encoded video that has an average bitrate of 29 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.8 Mbps.

This is an excellent high definition video presentation that offers impressive transparent imagery. The color palette is deliberately subdued and held to primary use of black, grays, whites, browns and blues that give it a cooler emphasis. Colors are rendered well with realistic looking depth and detail. This is a solid, high bitrate encoding that delivers superlative image resolution. Close ups revealed high level detail that allows the pores, stubble, peach fuzzy hair and subtle variations in the complexions of the cast to be perceivable. The texture on the surfaces of objects was just as defining which gave them visibly apparent structure and tangible quality. Black levels and contrast are excellent and visible detail within dark backgrounds and shadows equally as strong. The video had a pristine quality that appeared to be devoid of video related anomalies and artifacts.

The lossless DTS-HD Master Audio wasn’t as encompassing as I anticipated but it made up for it with sparkling clarity and detail. Dialogue was impressive in its tonal distinction and transparent blend with the front three channels. Imaging and sound effects reproduction were first rate as the sound field in the front of the room bristled with sonic detail. The surrounds were primarily utilized for spatial atmospheric presence however discernible discrete audio cues were effectively mixed in where appropriate. Low frequency effects came in the form of bass associated with the music score and in support of sound effects that required low bass resonance or tactile impact. Dynamic range was excellent which provided good solidity and weight to the audio in general. I felt that the mix highlighted the strengths of the source material and sounded great.



Bonus Features:


  • (HD) Deleted scenes

  • (HD) Journey to redemption: The making of The American – 10 minute featurette

  • Feature commentary by director Anton Corbijn

  • My Scenes bookmark feature

  • Pocket Blu - App for iPOD/iPHONE

  • BD-Live enabled

  • Digital Copy


Final Thoughts:

The American probably doesn’t conform to the elements that most envision when thinking of a thriller but that doesn’t make it any less of an engaging film. The American succeeds because of the total sum of its parts and features strong performances by the cast headlined by George Clooney. Those expecting more of a typical genre entry (ala Jason Bourne) probably won’t appreciate The American. I think that I “got it” but this may not be a film for everyone. It comes to Blu-ray Disc from Universal Studios Home Entertainment featuring superb high definition video quality, clear DTS-HD Master Audio sound, and a limited but worthwhile set of bonus supplements that consists of a behind the scenes featurette, director commentary track and deleted scenes. The American is well worth checking out especially if you enjoy a thoughtful film however I recommend it as a rental prior to purchase.









attachment.php?attachmentid=109949&d=1210373731






Ralph Potts
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post #2 of 25 Old 12-24-2010, 12:31 PM
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You know, I have to agree with everything you said about the movie. When people asked me what I thought about it I just about I told them just about everything you said. One of the things I said was that I it was "deliberately paced". I also thought that the actors and acting were all spot on. Not sure I will buy it though. But I am still glad I saw it. I enjoyed the scenery. Probably a net flix for most people.

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post #3 of 25 Old 12-25-2010, 08:56 AM
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Ralph, your description would put this film right up my alley. I'm thinking it will be a buy for me.
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post #4 of 25 Old 12-25-2010, 12:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Georgeb View Post

Ralph, your description would put this film right up my alley. I'm thinking it will be a buy for me.

Greetings,

Go for it George!

Regards,

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post #5 of 25 Old 12-27-2010, 08:55 AM
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When I saw the trailer for this movie I was quickly turned on to it. And after hearing from enough critics and friends that it is a strong character study vs. pure action, I am compelled to love it.

Ralph, your review has sealed the deal for me, I am sure to love this one. And with the dialog (critical to such a movie) so highly marked for quality, I am thrilled. We are buying this one right away!

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post #6 of 25 Old 12-27-2010, 08:59 AM
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i haven't gotten a chance to watch this, but it made the pre-street date rounds at the video store last week, and i've talked to some people who saw it in the theater.

i'll probably watch, and enjoy, it. unfortunately (at least in the trailers running in our store), it's being marketed as an action-type film, and it's leaving people feeling that it's TOO slow-paced, and decidedly lacking in action.

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post #7 of 25 Old 12-27-2010, 09:06 AM
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Yes, that is a somewhat accurate description of "deliberately paced". However, I found myself so bored by the pace and lack of any excitement at all, that I no longer cared about the outcome. My wife and I had invested too much time to give up, but seemingly every five minutes my wife would ask me if we could fast forward. Clooney is brilliant in the last four minutes of the film. I think you would be better of with the last four minutes of The American, with the balance of your time spent with ANYTHING else.

Sorry...
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post #8 of 25 Old 12-27-2010, 10:52 AM
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I really liked this film. Clooney has become one of my favourite actors - Michael Clayton and Up in the Air. It was almost like we were seeing snippets of this story, but the technique moves it along nicely. Clooney is able to project a sense of melancholy and controlled stress better than anyone else on screen, IMO. This story supports the old adage - when everyone's after you, paranoia is just clear thinking!
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post #9 of 25 Old 12-27-2010, 08:41 PM
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Watched it last night almost fell asleep a couple times. If your expecting an action film then you will be disappointed. The trailer makes it look as if it would have many more action scenes in it. But if you are looking for drama then this is for you.

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post #10 of 25 Old 12-31-2010, 05:16 PM
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Excellent review Ralph I will be watching this one this weekend . Oh and Happy New Year

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post #11 of 25 Old 01-02-2011, 07:11 AM
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Enjoyed it. Would not re-watch it. Good acting. However the ending was too predictable and it's set up (Clooney going back into the brief case before handing it of) gave away the entire ending. He's a good actor that gets poor roles.


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post #12 of 25 Old 01-03-2011, 09:00 AM
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This was a definite A+ in my book! Cast and characters were pretty strong and solid and the environment and scenes it took place were very calm and relaxing. Ending was somewhat predictable but overall it was a great film.

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post #13 of 25 Old 01-03-2011, 09:10 AM
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Watched this over the weekend. I agree the movie was beautifully shot, and certain scenes setup a tense sense of paranoia indeed. Overall though, I too felt that the ending was too predictable and after all of the "slow" or "deliberate" pacing I was hoping for a better pay off. Glad it was only a rental.

Still like Clooney as an actor though!

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post #14 of 25 Old 01-12-2011, 06:43 AM
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Totally agree about the "sum of the parts" Ralph, however this one still fell a little short for me. The potential was there for an awesome film. It just wasn't fully realized. Completely agree with your PQ and SQ ratings.

I had pretty high hopes for this one based on the preview. There were so many things to like about this film, but I still felt something was missing. To me, I think it falls on Clooney’s character. If they would have written in more background to his character, it would have helped the story immensely and help draw in the audience. Instead, we are thrust into his current situation, without any knowledge of why he wants to get out and make change.

Besides that, this was a fantastic character study. I personally loved the pacing. It was slow, but deliberate. Clooney played his character very well, and this film keeps Clooney up there as one of my favorites.

Would I recommend this to everyone? No. I did enjoy it, but in my opinion, this one fell just short of greatness. More background to Clooney’s character (to help you understand his emotions, reasoning, and internal struggles), and more interface with the priest would have gone a long way to making this film stellar. I really wanted to be able to give this film a 4.5 or 5, but it fell short.

The picture quality was fantastic, especially the close up shots of faces, and the beautiful landscapes and locations. Also, there was a surprising amount of female nudity, so take that for what its worth.

Sound quality, while not overly dynamic, was clear and well placed.

PQ: 4.5 out of 5, SQ 4 out of 5, Film 3.5 out of 5

Dan
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post #15 of 25 Old 01-12-2011, 08:07 AM
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How many times can a person watch clooney going to sleep without falling asleep themselves? I hated this movie
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post #16 of 25 Old 01-12-2011, 08:47 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stereomandan View Post

Totally agree about the "sum of the parts" Ralph, however this one still fell a little short for me. The potential was there for an awesome film. It just wasn't fully realized. Completely agree with your PQ and SQ ratings.

I had pretty high hopes for this one based on the preview. There were so many things to like about this film, but I still felt something was missing. To me, I think it falls on Clooney's character. If they would have written in more background to his character, it would have helped the story immensely and help draw in the audience. Instead, we are thrust into his current situation, without any knowledge of why he wants to get out and make change.

Besides that, this was a fantastic character study. I personally loved the pacing. It was slow, but deliberate. Clooney played his character very well, and this film keeps Clooney up there as one of my favorites.

Would I recommend this to everyone? No. I did enjoy it, but in my opinion, this one fell just short of greatness. More background to Clooney's character (to help you understand his emotions, reasoning, and internal struggles), and more interface with the priest would have gone a long way to making this film stellar. I really wanted to be able to give this film a 4.5 or 5, but it fell short.

The picture quality was fantastic, especially the close up shots of faces, and the beautiful landscapes and locations. Also, there was a surprising amount of female nudity, so take that for what its worth.

Sound quality, while not overly dynamic, was clear and well placed.

PQ: 4.5 out of 5, SQ 4 out of 5, Film 3.5 out of 5

Dan

Greetings,

Thanks for sharing Dan!

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post #17 of 25 Old 01-21-2011, 11:10 PM
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I loved this movie, an elegant homage to Jean Pierre Melville's classic Le Samourai and to the Italian master Sergio Leone. Gorgeous women too.

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post #18 of 25 Old 01-21-2011, 11:53 PM
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Loved this film. I have no idea why it is so hard to get a decent transfer with a high bitrate anymore. Criterion is now putting out stuff lower than this on just about every release in favor of extras and whatever else. I loved this film. I like the idea of it. It's elegant, smart, and subtle. So is the transfer and sound design. Honestly, these kind of films are awesome. I think that the antigrain crowds would have nothing to hate here and yet it has a nice solid layer of grain. I cannot understand why studios are just going with the pasty look and killing the detail in their films.

Inception had some city shots of the same caliber which are clearly worse than some of the ones in this film as far as detail and I don't think it has to do with the camera at all. The image in these kind of films, almost hitting 30 Mbps on average, seems a lot more solid, consistent, and refined to me. At least when the master is decent. Put this one down to 20 and I guarantee I would be complaining of softness. Wish they would just leave films alone when there is room for higher bitrates. DNR is also obviously hardly at all apparent in this film if at all. This is how you do a bluray.
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post #19 of 25 Old 01-22-2011, 08:12 AM
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It's elegant, smart, and subtle.
And very sexy as well!

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post #20 of 25 Old 01-26-2011, 03:32 AM
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I watched it last night. I enjoyed the movie, I agree with everyone on the effectiveness of the pacing. It gave the viewer a real sense of tension and paranoia that was palpable. Picture and sound were very good, also. I thought the ending was appropriate for the style and pace of the film; not over the top. If you went into the movie knowing it was not an Arnold Schwarzenegger explosion fest (which I love also), then I think you would enjoy this movie more.
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post #21 of 25 Old 05-25-2011, 08:18 AM
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Finally got a chance to rent this. Looking forward in watching this tonight.

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post #22 of 25 Old 05-25-2011, 11:16 AM
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Originally Posted by edfowler View Post

How many times can a person watch clooney going to sleep without falling asleep themselves? I hated this movie

+1 glad I rented it.

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post #23 of 25 Old 05-27-2011, 08:13 AM
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watched this some time ago....
The first 8 minutes were great.
Figured out the ending half way through.
Overall for me, a total snoozer.

 

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post #24 of 25 Old 05-27-2011, 05:37 PM
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Just watched this, I thought it was beautifully shot, and written I love the pace not bored at all. The acting was top notch, the ladies reminded me of the type of women Clooney would be seen running around in real life, just naked. (Thanks George!) Also I was watching the making of the movie and they compared it to the classic Spaghetti Westerns that every one loves, I can see that for sure. I simply love this film, would I buy it no as it doesn't have that repeat value.

One more thing though, I was wondering what made Jack George's character to make changes to his modded riffles?


Thanks Ralph for another spot on review

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post #25 of 25 Old 04-26-2012, 12:13 PM
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I purchased this film a while ago, and enjoyed it the first time. It has been almost a year, and decided to pull this one out the other night for a second go-round. I thought it was even better on the second vewing. Glad I picked this one up. Great film!
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