Released: Out Now To Rent!
Running Time: 105 Minutes
Distrubuited By; Focus Pictures
REVIEW BY GUEST HFC CRITIC EVIL BILL
George Clooney is an assassin called Jack,who is constantly on the move and always alone. After a job in Sweden ends more violently than expected for this American abroad, Jack retreats to the Italian countryside. He relishes being away from death for a spell as he holes up in a small medieval town. While there, Jack takes an assignment to construct a weapon for a mysterious contact killer, Mathilde (Thekla Reuten). Savouring the peaceful quietude he finds in the mountains of Abruzzo, Jack accepts the friendship of local priest Father Benedetto (Paolo Bonacelli) and pursues a torrid liaison with a beautiful prostitute, Clara (Violante Placido). Jack and Clara’s time together evolves into a romance, one seemingly free of danger. But drk forces are at work,and by stepping out of the shadows, Jack may be tempting fate more than he realises
This movie is not for those who want lots of gun play,like ASSASSINS or the latest remake to hit the big screen THE MECHANIC. This is a Euro style thriller,that is slow burn from start to finish,in fact it’s a carefully paced, well-designed and beautifully shot suspense-thriller that hits all of its marks. The acting is top notch from all,but of course George Clooney is awesome,he is at the top of his game here,this is the sort of movie he revels,more of a character study than anything else. A loner who is in need of love,but knows that he can never have the sort of relationship he craves,for death is only a heartbeat away.
Enter Violante Placido, who is effective, charismatic and beautiful as the prostitute who falls in love with him. Of course this isn’t about her falling for his charm’s,no she is a working girl, but she is also lost and alone,so what we have is two human beings who care for each other. This is strengthen by the sex scenes, which for once, are appropriate because they show how the relationship between these two characters evolves from lust to love. All i can say is what a fantastic actress,never once do you feel this could not happen,or that it looks false,no these to ignite the screen, yet it’s never steamy,just beautiful.
Another interesting character study is that of the Priest that befriends Jack,and again anther superb performance from Paolo Boacelli.We can see behind his eyes that he knows that Jack is not a photographer he claims to be,yet they develop a friendship,again we get deep into this too. Again a man/a priest who has his own dark secrets,that have led to him being somewhat alone,yet all around is beauty,that of the country side and of the females. But again you feel death and violence is close by and closing in for a final showdown,and this is where again i feel this movie excels,with one excellent ending where you don’t feel cheated.
Director Anton Corbijn has delivered a movie that relies more on facial expressions than words,yet this is a tight script. The cinematography is breath taking,it very much in the vain of Sergio Leone,the way the shots are composed,the landscapes filling the screen,even the whole underlay of sex and death,that help add to the suspense.
This is also a homage to films like The French Connection,and Fred Zinnemann’s Day of the Jackal, it’s that old world feel that is now sadly missing from movies. In fact there is no modern movie i could compare this too,but thrillers now have to have a body count,and two major explosions. This has none of these,yet has a fabulous shoot out and chase right at the end,and a good shoot out at the start,but as i said this is not an action movie. It is a very cerebral thriller,yet never to cerebral that you can’t follow the evolving story, with it’s ace sub plots. And above all it’s a visual treat,with perfect use of the Italian countryside and of course the actors,just be warned this is a slow slow burner, not for those that need a body count.