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Brokaw: ‘American Star’ is not a typical assassin film

By Francine Brokaw - Special to the Standard-Examiner | Mar 2, 2024

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Ian McShane stars in "American Star," now streaming on Prime Video.

Veteran actor Ian McShane plays an enigmatic assassin in the new film “American Star.” The story takes place on Fuerteventura, one of the Canary Islands. These islands are closer to Northern Africa than Spain, however they are Spanish territory.

Wilson (McShane) arrives on the desert island in what is supposed to be his final assignment as an assassin. He is getting older and has other ideas about how to live the rest of his life.

When he gets to the house in which his “target” lives, he discovers the man is not there. He is away so instead of simply killing him and leaving the island, Wilson decides to stay and ultimately finish the assignment when the man returns. This is where the story gets awkward.

Wilson checks into a hotel and meets several people on his “vacation” in Fuerteventura. First, he meets a young boy (Oscar Coleman) who he befriends. This little kid is inquisitive and Wilson finds him endearing.

Then he meets a woman (Nora Arnezeder) and the two of them begin a strange relationship. They are not romantically involved yet they are drawn to each other. Then up pops another assassin (Adam Nagaitis) who just happens to be his nephew. Why is he on the island? Is he there to spy on him or does he have another reason to be there?

As the days go by and Wilson waits for his target to return, relationships are played out. Every one of those with whom he interacts has something they are hiding.

Wilson is discomforted by the coldness of his nephew. He sees him going down the same path as he had done. Is this what he wants for the man or will it cause him emotional distress in the long run?

As the very strange relationships play out, Wilson is slowly attracted to a shipwreck. The American Star had run aground decades earlier and sits rusted off the shore.

So, this slow-moving disjointed story of Wilson does come to an end when his target returns. But the ending is something viewers probably won’t see coming.

It’s a rather odd story, to say the least. McShane is the one good part of the film. It’s interesting to see his psychological connections between the other characters and probably the reason he decides enough is enough. This will be his final assignment.

“American Star” is now available to stream on Prime Video. Its appeal won’t be to a wide audience, but some will find it an interesting study in psychological dimensions. The film is rated R for language and some bloody violence.


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