Why the alternate title? Let's just say that each of the listed "B-words" get their fair share of screen time in this thriller, because it seems that director Anton Corbijn doesn't feel the need to have
anything else with THAT winning line up.
Anyway, the plot goes something like this:
George Clooney is an assassin who needs to do one more job, but he falls into love with a prostitute (isn't that just the American way?) while on mission in Italy.
On the bright side, Anton Corbijn does know what to do with the camera, most likely due to the fact that his prior occupation was as a photographer. Many of his shots take the small Italian buildings with angles you wouldn't expect. Adding to the style of this movie, the score is quite good, and actually allows for a few scenes to be in silence, which is refreshing.
Clooney's performance is surprisingly dull here, and not in his normal "suave dude" way either. It is partly due to what he has to work with (this is the same screenwriter who wrote the awful sequel 28 Weeks Later, after all,) but not all of it can be blamed on the script. Additionally, the love interest, played by Italian actress Violante Placido, seems to only be there to dish out more uninteresting dialog and show her breasts, which, as evidenced by my subtitle suggestion, she does a lot.
Nothing happens in this movie. The entire movie is just snooze-inducing filler. With the exception of the first and last 15 minutes, it's all just Clooney wandering around the back alleys of small Italian villages and reading books about heavy-handed symbolism butterflies. I almost forgot about the butterflies. This might qualify for the "Most Obvious and Yet Least Interesting Motif of the Year" award. They're endangered, and he's in danger! Get it?
I suppose at the end of the day, there isn't much else to see in theaters at the moment. If you have to go, just enjoy the pretty picture and music, and forget about everything else. The American gets a "C."
PS: If you do see this movie, please tell me if I saw the following scene correctly: Clooney first gets to the town and runs into motorcycle man, but the subtitles used to translate his Italian into English switch back to Italian at one point. Am I crazy?