Wednesday 21 February 2024

REVIEW: American Star (2024 Film) - Starring Ian McShane

By Jon Donnis
"American Star," directed by Gonzalo López-Gallego, presents a compelling narrative centered around an aging assassin seeking one last assignment, played with captivating gravitas by Ian McShane. The film unfolds as Wilson, tired of his violent profession, journeys to Fuerteventura to fulfill his final task. However, his target's absence leads him to an unexpected tranquil respite, where he forms connections with the island's inhabitants, particularly Gloria, portrayed by the charming Nora Arnezeder. As Wilson immerses himself in this newfound serenity, the inevitable pull of his past disrupts the peaceful interlude, challenging his resolve and principles.

The film's strengths lie in its commanding lead performance by Ian McShane, who effortlessly conveys Wilson's internal conflict and weariness with his life choices. López-Gallego skillfully crafts an intense atmosphere, enhanced by the stunning landscapes of Fuerteventura, which serve as a stark contrast to Wilson's tumultuous past. The interactions between Wilson and Gloria, as well as other characters like Thomas (Thomas Kretschmann) and Anne (Fanny Ardant), provide moments of depth and humanity amidst the suspenseful narrative.

"American Star" is a smart and thoughtful thriller that delves into themes of redemption, moral ambiguity, and the consequences of one's actions. The film maintains a precise focus on its central message, punctuated by enjoyable flashes of comedy and drama that add layers to the storyline. However, it's not without its shortcomings. The script, while engaging, follows a somewhat formulaic trajectory, and the plot's predictability may hinder its impact on some viewers. Additionally, the film occasionally veers into art-house territory without offering a fully satisfying conclusion, leaving some loose ends unresolved.

In summary, "American Star" is a thought-provoking film anchored by Ian McShane's compelling performance. Fans of the actor will undoubtedly appreciate his portrayal of Wilson and the emotional depth he brings to the character. However, the film's pacing may feel slow at times, and its formulaic elements might detract from the overall experience for some audiences. Despite these drawbacks, "American Star" remains a commendable thriller with enough substance to warrant a watch, earning a fair rating of 7 out of 10.

Out now on Digital at