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The American directed by Anton Corbijn; released in 2010

This is a very unique story. A man whose forte is guns, passion is women and on top of this, is wanted dead by more than one person. Put this together with the director of the dark Ian Curtis biopic, ‘Control’ and you have something that is a very interesting watch. Set in the idyllic Castelvecchio, a rural Italian town; which in hindsight isn’t the normal place to set a sort-of spy thriller in the mould of old spaghetti westerns,  Jack (George Clooney) is in hiding after recently disposing of a lover and two contract killers in Sweden. From the outset, you are presented a character who is confident but at the same time, confused with life. He is unsure that he has chosen the correct career, even though he is many years into it, which isn’t the best one that allows him to build relationships, which seems to be his favourite pastime. The film’s main theme though, which is not necessarily a theme, is the prolonged silences where the only thing you hear is the construction of a gun, footsteps of someone being followed or the firing of a gun. This, paired with the plot, makes for 95 minutes of total suspense. George Clooney’s career really has gone from strength to strength since playing Doug Ross in ‘E.R.’ over 15 years ago and his performance in this, is one that really makes him one of my favourite actors. He draws from his performance as the titular character in ‘Michael Clayton’, allowing for some very blunt, explosive dialogue which makes his character, an efficient arms expert, all that more believable. Throughout the film you are unable to decide on what you want the outcome to be, which when coupled with shots of the beautiful Italian landscape make the shocking ending that more despairing. The area shouldn’t be subjected to the arrival of violence, which makes the film that more exciting and brutal. His friendship with a local priest makes the subject matter even more controversial, resulting in each scene between Jack and Father Benedetto (Paolo Bonacelli) very cryptic. Constant questioning from the priest about Jack or Edward’s (alias’s play a big role in the life of a hit-man) life, make for some weird responses and seriously hamper the killer’s entire outlook on life. The blossoming romance between him and a local prostitute is again, due to the story, very tough but exciting to watch. You know from the beginning that any form of love interest for Jack will be, in the end, questioned, when whoever he falls for discovers or notices something to do with his line of work. The chemistry between him and Clara (Violante Placido) is thrilling and when Jack finally makes his choice about his chosen career, you know that something is going to go wrong. The film’s supporting cast is also good, most notably Thekla Reuten and Johan Leysen as Mathilde and Pavel, who both pull of the ‘so called friend’ role very well. I really enjoyed this film and would recommend it to fans of Clooney, the director and westerns/thrillers. P.S. Don’t go into this film thinking you are going to be seeing a ‘Bourne’ paced thriller. You aren’t.

9/10

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