The American

Rated 3.0

George Clooney plays Jack, a loner and some kind of secret agent, both a killer and freelance master craftsman specializing in custom-made firearms for contract killers. He’s a kind of introverted James Bond, a lethal technician and a magnet for babes, even though he maintains a kind of monkish solitude. Director Anton Corbijn (Control) makes elegant use of European settings, mostly the bucolic Abruzzo in Italy, and gives the whole thing a suavely austere tone. Clooney’s smoothly stoical performance is nicely suited to a character who is by turns brutally efficient and adventurously sensual, but neither the story nor the star can make full sense of the puzzles and eventual contradictions of plot and character here. Still, the thing exercises a certain fascination on a moment-to-moment basis. At worst, it’s an anti-thriller that remains a little too attached to the genre conventions from which it pretends to detach itself. At best, it’s a richly textured detour through some of the more intimate and sensual pleasures of several thriller-genre offshoots—Kafkaesque international intrigue, the girls-and-guns chase flick, the Zen-like ministrations of the professional gunman. Feather River Cinemas, Paradise Cinema 7 and Tinseltown. Rated R