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Preview review: Clooney goes dark in 'The American'

May 5, 2010 |  1:30 pm

George_clooney_the_americanJust when we thought we'd gotten our fix after a George Clooney-filled awards season, the actor pops up in yet another new movie.

This time, he's starring in a thriller called "The American," the Anton Corbijn movie that's based on the 1990 Martin Booth novel "A Very Private Gentleman." Clooney plays Jack, a professional assassin who heads to the Italian countryside after a recent job in Sweden that went badly. In Italy, he decides he's going to get out of the business after -- of course -- one last gig. All this is complicated by  his friendship with a local priest and romance with a beautiful but suspicious Italian woman.

Physically, it's a different look for Clooney than we've seen of late in films like "Up In the Air." He's clearly meant to look older and tougher, with his gray hair cut short and a tattooed chest. It's also a return to a more serious role for the actor -- there's not a whole lot of easy banter delivered with that winning grin .

While the plot itself seems vaguely predictable -- hard-edged, closed-off guy opens his heart for sexy temptress, potentially causing his downfall -- the trailer still intrigues us. Director Corbijn seems to have made a movie that's visually appealing, with its cobblestone streets contrasting nicely with its frozen forests. There also seems to be a nice balance struck between the probing dramatic scenes and those with sleek guns and action.

-- Amy Kaufman

Photo: George Clooney stars in "The American." Credit: Focus Features.

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