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American Star (Film Review)

2 min read


, now tired of playing second fiddle to Keanu Reeves' John Wick, gets to enjoy a little hitman action of his own in American Star. Sent to Fuerteventura for a gig, Wilson (Ian McShane) suffers an existential crisis as he has to pick between his morals and his occupation in Gonzalo López-Gallego's moody slow-burn drama.


With time to kill before his (possibly final) hit, Wilson decides to take in the sights and sounds of Fuerteventura. These sights and sounds are mostly seedy dive bars, an old abandoned cargo ship and a crummy all inclusive Hotel, where he meets Max (Oscar Coleman), the young neglected son of a holidaying couple. It's through these mostly mundane interactions that we learn more about Wilson. We see his kindness, his road-weariness and natural paternal aura. But it's his relationship with the mysterious bartender Gloria (Nora Arnezeder) that is most integral to Wilson's journey.

Alas, It's not all sunshine and roses. Eventually Wilson reunites with Ryan (Adam Nagatis), a fellow hitman and the son of his deceased best friend, who is here to make sure the job gets done, but also warn him that one of his new relationships might best be avoided.

American Star is glacially slow. From the moment Wilson lands till something actually happens feels like a legitimate 20 minutes. There is no hurry to American Star, choosing to let the landscape and score set the stage, which Gonzalo López-Gallegos' direction does quite nicely.


But for all its beauty and competence, you may just find your mind wandering, as Ian McShane stumbles around, looking morosely at the sea for 3 minutes too long, only to be brought back in by an interesting conversation or genuinely touching moment between Max and Wilson.

In its defence, the relative silence and slow pace does also serve to make the conclusion that bit more shocking, bringing in a violent incongruity to a fairly slow moving drama.

American Star is not a bad movie by any means, but the pace is indulgently slow and the plot, while not an afterthought, is not really the main focus. American Star is a good looking and well-acted film, that just happens to be trapped in liquid carbonite.

American Star is out in Cinemas and Digital Platforms from 23rd February