Schroth Reviews "The American"

One of our newest associate editors, Raymond Schroth, S.J., a name most likely familiar to many of our readers (he has a long history with America, Commonweal and NCR and is the author of many well-respected books--including what looks like a fascinating new book, soon to be published, on Robert Drinan, S.J.) turns his attention to the new George Clooney film "The American."  Among the characters in the film are a Catholic priest....perhaps not surprising when you see the photo to the right of George Clooney apparently escaping from an ordination!

The eccentric little-village Italian priest is a stock, usually lovable, literary character. We remember the Don Camillo novels and Graham Greene’s Spanish Monsignor Quixote, and Hollywood’s temptation is to go with a stereotype. But one of the graces of "The American" is that it is not a Hollywood, or even an “American” film. Father Benedetto is old, homely and overweight, and, unlike cliché priests, never paternally addresses Ed as “my son.” He takes a pastoral initiative without coming on too strong and cooks dinner for him, the closest the film comes to a Eucharist.

Advertisement

Ed is posing as a photojournalist. "Do you study our history?" the priest asks. "No," Ed replies. "That’s the trouble with you Americans," says Benedetto, “You think you can escape history.” Which is what Ed is trying to do, extricate himself from a history of murdering people.

Read the rest of the review here.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
William deHaas
7 years 4 months ago
Not an ordination; a Marian procession.  See the movie.

Advertisement

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

Indigenous people walk past Pope Francis after presenting offertory gifts during the pope's celebration of Mass at the Maquehue Airport near Temuco, Chile, Jan. 17. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
Pope Francis appealed to the Mapuche, who have suffered “great injustices,” to totally reject violence “which can make a just cause turn into a lie.”
Gerard O’ConnellJanuary 17, 2018
Dolores O'Riordan, former lead singer of The Cranberries, performs on stage during a concert in 2007 in Tirana, Albania (CNS photo/Arben Celi, Reuters).
She was Dickensian, if Dickens had written a Gaelic warrior-waif, a hero with a voice that could thrill and comfort.
Cameron Dezen HammonJanuary 17, 2018
Pope Francis dove head-first into Chile's sex abuse scandal on his first full day in Santiago.
Pope Francis meets with priests, religious and seminarians at the Metropolitan Cathedral in Santiago, Chile, Jan. 16. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
Francis focused for the second time today during his visit to Chile on the abuse scandal that has rocked the Chilean church. “I know the pain resulting from cases of abuse of minors, and I am attentive to what you are doing to respond to this great and painful evil,” he said.
Gerard O’ConnellJanuary 16, 2018