MOVIE REVIEW- Zen masterpiece: Clooney's <i>American</i> has samurai soul<i> </i>


The American allows George Clooney to play a man as starkly defined as a samurai. His fatal flaw, as it must be for any samurai, is love. Other than that, the American is perfect: sealed, impervious and expert, with a focus so narrow it is defined only by his skills and his master. 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. 

Clooney plays a character named Jack, or perhaps Edward. He is one of those people who can assemble mechanical parts by feel and instinct, so inborn is his skill. His job is creating specialized weapons for specialized murders. He works for Pavel (Johan Leysen, who looks like Scott Glenn left to dry in the sun). Actually, we might say he "serves" Pavel, because he accepts his commands without question, giving him a samurai's loyalty... [full review]