The American, George Clooney and some thoughts..
Last night I watched my last film in the theatres before TIFF, and I chose wisely, deciding to see The American. I had to choose it over Get Low but the choice wasn’t only up to me, so let’s just leave it at that. Anton Corbijn (of Control fame) paints a very lovely paranoid moody thriller in the mountainous regions of Abruzzo, previously only known to me through wine. Starring George Clooney and an interesting international ensemble of casting choices, tension was high, at least ask anybody except the 17 year old I had texting to my right. “It’s like watching grass grow” was his complaint as he followed his grandparents out of the cinema. But there was one nagging question I had after watching the film, drawing on the hyper-meta world we live in these days which makes it nearly impossible to enjoy a known actor in a ‘void’ as his previous roles work for and against him. (I am unable to watch Julia Roberts, Tom Hanks, Tom Cruise, John Travolta or Anthony Hopkins for this same reason.)
So George, after watching The American, I’m wondering what’s next in the redeemed-man arc that your entire career has taken.
The American follows Jack, some sort of assassin/gun-smithing badass who hides out in Italy for ‘one last job’ (yeah right, they all say that, and I’m a cop with 6 more months til retirement) along the way he has doubts about his employer, is rightfully paranoid as all fuck and frequents hookers, falling in love with one. Seen it before? Me too, but there’s just something about Clooney and Corbijn’s overall tone that make this film work. Man looking for redemption? You betcha.
Fantastic Mr. Fox has Clooney as a fox, literally, who’s a bit of a cad, a player, a thief who’s having a bit of trouble settling down with his wife and kits. It’s his ego and adventure-seeking nature that endangers his friends and family and the entire last third of the film is him making up for it. Redemption? Yup.
Up in the Air features Ryan Bingham as he attempts to overcome his intimacy issues, in the air. He opens up to new people and tries to reconnect with his family. Still searching, but for redemption.
The ENTIRE Ocean’s Trilogy has Danny Ocean pulling ‘one last job’, and despite being a mastermind criminal, continually ending up morally superior to the people he’s stealing from. His redemption comes in the form of oneupmanship. Yes.
Michael Clayton? Check, O Brother, Where Art Thou? Check. Syriana? Check. Solaris YES.
I guess Clooney’s at the point in his career where he can pick and choose his films, but it’d really be interesting to see him pick a darker, more ambiguous role than The American, a real villain would do nicely!