Jack (George Clooney) is not your ordinary hit man; he is a master in the art of assassination. But this is a lonely life and after his assignment in Sweden ended in an ugly manner, Jack tells his agent Larry (Bruce Altman) that he has had enough-he wants to hang up his guns so he can live a normal life. He announces that his next assignment will be his last.
According to his agent, his exit strategy will be even easier than he expected, he will only have to make sure that the assignment goes according to plan. So this last assignment takes this American to a small village in the countryside of Italy where Jack get a chance to catch his breath and enjoy being alive, His assignment handed down to him by Mathilde (Thekla Reuten), a Belgian woman will be completed when the artillery is constructed.
With spare time on his hands, Jack unexpectedly finds himself confiding in the local priest, surprised by the genuine friendship that begins with Father Benedetto (Paolo Bonacelli). Jack also discovers Clara (Violante Placido) who offers him a chance for romance.
As the date of the assignment draws closer, Jack finds that what was supposed to be a simple and uncomplicated final job is anything but. Jack is solidly behind his decision, but the confusion in this last assignment has Jack wondering if he will be able to walk away from the life he has led for so many years: partially because of his internal soul-searching with Father Benedetto and the emotions that his relationship with Clara have revealed.
“The American” combines all of the elements of the life of a gun-for-hire along with the real life realities that face every man. Jack is facing the harsh truth about the murders he has committed in the name of his country, but that doesn’t make it easier to sleep at night. The drama and intrigue that surrounds his decision and the fast turn of events surrounding this last assignment shows just how deadly this life can be even when you are a master of the art. No matter what ideas Jack has about his future, everything rides on his escape from his employers.