'The American' Critic Reviews

59%
MovieWeb:   9 reviews
66%
Rotten Tomatoes:   212 reviews
  • Julian Roman MovieWeb (Top Critic)
    60
    The American is like a paperweight sitting on your head for two hours.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Owen Gleiberman Entertainment Weekly (Top Critic)
    42
    The American ends the summer not with a bang but an existential whimper.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • A.O. Scott New York Times (Top Critic)
    75
    The American is never less than gorgeous. And the oblique approach it takes to what is a fairly standard plot creates a mood of suspense quickened by the accelerated heartbeat of Herbert Gronemeyer's unobtrusive music.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Philip French Guardian [UK] (Top Critic)
    As with watching the equally compact, detached Cary Grant, it's a great pleasure just to see the stone-faced Clooney going about his work exuding mystery and inner torment...
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Peter Bradshaw Guardian [UK] (Top Critic)
    60
    It purrs evenly, like the engine of a luxury automobile, with a cool, sleek satisfaction at how stylish it is. That said, it is pretty stylish...
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Claudia Puig USA Today (Top Critic)
    75
    Clooney plays the enigmatic title character with mature confidence.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Ann Hornaday Washington Post (Top Critic)
    50
    While cinema-lovers can cheer a director willing to buck the fashion for sensory overload, The American can't rightly be called a success.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Wesley Morris Boston Globe (Top Critic)
    50
    Given the paucity of serious adult moviemaking that shows up in American megaplexes, it's almost ungrateful to turn up your nose when one arrives. But this isn't that serious a movie.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Mark Olsen Village Voice (Top Critic)
    Despite its director's disinterest in letting people in, there is nevertheless something exciting about a movie this uncompromised, in which the big change from the book to the screen actually toughens up the story instead of watering it down.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Joe Neumaier New York Daily News (Top Critic)
    80
    The American, a movie as coiled as a snake and as still as a sleepy villa, is the rare grownup thriller that knows the link between peace and danger and the tension that comes from both.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Joe Morgenstern Wall Street Journal (Top Critic)
    Mr. Clooney's performance as Jack -- a last name would have made him less existential -- keeps you attentive, and the drama's seriousness finally earns your respect.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Amy Biancolli Houston Chronicle (Top Critic)
    75
    It does for hit men what Up in the Air did for frequent-flying corporate terminators, minus the comic tang.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Chris Vognar Dallas Morning News (Top Critic)
    90
    This is Serious Clooney, starring in a deliberative film that could have sprung from mid-'60s France or Italy.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Lisa Kennedy Denver Post (Top Critic)
    63
    If you're expecting a star-propelled thriller with the usual bob, weave and one-two punch, this isn't your ticket.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Glenn Kenny MSN Movies (Top Critic)
    70
    The good news, though, is that eventually The American does get to where it wants to be, and becomes a rather improbably but genuinely moving story.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • David Edelstein New York Magazine (Top Critic)
    It takes you back to an era of arty, angst-ridden European existential pulp movies that were like abstract essays on the genre.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Roger Ebert Chicago Sun-Times (Top Critic)
    100
    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.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Michael Phillips Chicago Tribune (Top Critic)
    63
    I enjoyed the film for its surfaces most of the way. Its pictorial assurance is undeniable. So is its destiny as an audience-divider.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • J. R. Jones Chicago Reader (Top Critic)
    George Clooney produced and stars in this international spy thriller, which he probably thought of as existential but which registers onscreen as a giant bore.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Carrie Rickey Philadelphia Inquirer (Top Critic)
    75
    The film from Dutch director Anton Corbijn is as meticulous, enigmatic, and restrained as its protagonist.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Colin Covert Minneapolis Star Tribune (Top Critic)
    63
    The American strains so hard to be European -- a slower, more intellectual cloak-and-dagger melodrama -- that it winds up feeling Canadian: more bloodless and chilly than thrilling.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Bill Goodykoontz Arizona Republic (Top Critic)
    70
    With Clooney it's an interesting project. Without him, it would simply be boring.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Robert Koehler Variety (Top Critic)
    Clooney may not have a hit this time, but he continues to apply considerable intelligence to his work as an actor, still trying to deliver something fresh and interesting for his fans.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Kyle Smith New York Post (Top Critic)
    25
    A pretentious Euro-snore that should occasion a fraud prosecution for any marketer who calls it a thriller -- and which stars an actor who seems to wish his name were Jorg Cloone.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Roger Moore Orlando Sentinel (Top Critic)
    75
    Crisp, compact and cryptic, The American is a standard-issue hit-man thriller tailor made for George Clooney.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
AVG. RATING 2.8 WORTHY
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