I haven't seen a good American action or adventure or thriller movie in a long time. Mostly it's the pacing, everything is too fast, happens too quickly or the lulls don't match the highs. It's like a minuscule environment of overcorrecting while driving, turning too far left then overreaching to the right.
This is what made The American so good. No overreaching, just following the steady median. Leonard Martin said it best "it’s a slowly-paced, European-style mood piece, short on dialogue and action and long on atmosphere". And the atmosphere is wonderful. The scenes are beautiful, the light and shading add to a scene more completely than Hans Zimmer could ever hope.
I could have enjoyed another hour of this move developing, stewing into something even richer, and like most things Italian, the more time you spend with it the better it gets.