In “The American,” George Clooney’s clothes are understated. He carries himself with confidence and alertness, but without macho swagger. He looks like a thoroughly decent guy.
This is a problem because he plays the role of an expert in assassination.
Aren’t bad guys supposed to be dandies? Where are the lilac pocket square, shiny suit cloth, and gaudy finger ring?
No matter how despicable his actions, Clooney wins you over by his clothes, his forthright demeanor, and his chiseled, grizzled, but charming American visage. (Is this an implicit comment about American foreign policy?)
“The American” is a post-modern gunfighter western. It even has a hooker with a heart of gold.
So, what does the modern American cowboy look like?
For most of the film Clooney wears a grey-green canvas jacket. It may provide less than adequate protection from wet Italian weather, but like most every other article of clothing the jacket looks very good on George. Underneath he layers a sedate sweater vest or plain gray tee shirt – practical and unostentatious. After all, he is supposed to be lying low.
In the final scenes he wears a dark suit of impeccable cloth and cut, a funeral suit for himself and others.
In the modern western, bad guys look good. More confusing still, in “The American” the real killers are Swedes!