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My wife is a real George Clooney fan, although she admits “he sometimes really does make some weird movies.” So I went to see his latest, “The American,” as a favor to her and also figuring it’d be better than a chick flick.
What I found instead was an interesting reflection that–for the person who is looking–brings three significant pieces of spiritual reflection. Without giving away the plot or the ending, here’s three storylines which will enhance your spiritually-minded viewing experience if you go:
1. Stillness. Get ready to be still. Don’t go to this full of popcorn, candy and a sugary drink looking for action. But how sophisticated it was for Director Anton Corbijn to create a sophisticated thriller which bordered so much on un-thriller that it was thrilling. As an audience member, there was time to think. To ponder. Think M. Night Shyamalan without anything other-wordly.
2. God’s Forgiveness. There are several scenes in which a priest shows interest in Clooney’s mysterious character. In them he articulates the relentless love and unconditional interest which God shows in His people. “I don’t think God’s very interested in me,” is the response, a feeling which I fear far too many people really believe. The personal relationship that emerges with the priest compelling. It’s also nice to see the Catholic priest portrayed in a positive light with a biblical message. The guy is older but it otherwise is reminiscent of Clint Eastwood’s pursuer in “Gran Torino.”
3. Redemption. I don’t want to give away the ending so no spoiler alert is necessary here, but look for the source–or the subject–that brings redemption in this picture. It’s not from where you’d expect it, which makes it an even more compelling message.
“The American” is based on a book called “A Very Private Gentleman” by Martin Booth. I think that title would have been better and would certainly have been more appropriate. Clooney invites us into his private reflections as he engages in spy behavior as, well, a gentleman…not only towards the characters in the film, but towards us as the audience as well.

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