If you just happen to read the promotional summary of this movie which reads “An assassin hides out in Italy for one last assignment.”,
and look at the poster, you would be forgiven for thinking that this is a Jason Bourne or a Neeson “Taken” type of swashbuckling movie…
If you sit down to watch this with an intent to lose your blues in an orgy of fast moving punches and adrenaline pumping chases, you would be sorely disappointed. And that is only because this is a case of bad marketing…
Because this is probably one of the best movies that I have ever seen. And it becomes one not due to any breakthrough theme or espousing some philosophy that multiple views to get the aha moment.
It does this by having a screenplay that almost makes it a visual O Henry short story – a taut storyline that leaves more questions than answers, by a character sketch that is as profound as it is multi-
dimensional and yes having a background score that almost gives a dark poetic feel…It had the same feel as Uzak (Distant)
does in most part…
At the centre of this extraordinary movie is perhaps one of the most (till yet) under-rated actor of our generation – George Clooney. Watch this movie, Up in the Air, Syriana, Michael Clayton, Oceans series, One fine day and the sheer extraordinary range of Clooney comes through. And this movie is given its quality by his sheer presence.
Clooney is Jack, an ageing assassin, looking for a way out, another life. A man of few words, almost of Spartan laconism and never betraying emotion, at times he seems like a cold calculating machine who shows
no remorse (especially when you get past the first 5 mins).
However as we move along, we realize that its just a job for him and its the same as when we do something over and over again, we end up doing it highly efficiently and without thinking. And as we see, he is not without his demons either. Or a conscience…
Where Clooney shines through as Jack is that he gives one of his best performances without so much as a handful of dialogues. Its all in his eyes and his slight changes of expression and postures. Its when you see a performance like this that you realize we as humans respond much more to body language and visual signs rather than to spoken words.
As you watch this movie, you begin to feel extraordinarily close to Jack and you begin to understand him and how he is feeling and all
without hearing anything much from him!! Its only then that you appreciate the depth of this performance.
A performance that for me reaches its opus at the end. The mingled expression of anger, frustration, pain, regret, helplessness, determination in one single moment is a performance that few actors can manage – past or present. The whole movie, for me, was given the perfect ending in the last five minutes.
Violante Placido (As Clara) also plays a superb supporting cast as the quintessential prostitute with the golden heart (a role as old as modern cinema and yet never seems to touch the heart!). The transformation of the relationship and the growing maturity of the relationship between Jack and Clara is another of the highlight of the movie (as is the relationship between Jack and Father Benedetto)
This is a movie that should be watched for the depth of the performances and for its perfect screenplay (the ending of the movie is something that i found better than the book’s on which its based – A Very Private Gentleman
by Martin Booth
). And yes watch it especially for Clooney who gives his most subtle, understated and yet powerful performance till now (after Syriana)…
Oh and yes there action sequences – short, brutal and yes silent!!
This is a movie that stays…
One more thing…there are just about tonnes of people who either have no clue about what the movie was about or did not watch it through, or both – sample this review for instance
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,A Very Private Gentleman