What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this war-themed drama set in the Philippines, circa 1900, has a fair amount of war violence, with shootings, blood, death, and threats; children are involved in some of this. Strong language includes several uses of "f--k," "s--t," and the "N" word (about half of the movie is in English, the other half subtitled). There's also some sex talk, innuendo, and flirting, as well as heavy drinking. Written and directed by legendary indie filmmaker John Sayles, the movie tries to capture the point of view of American soldiers occupying a small baryo, as well as the locals who live there. The result is both uncommonly intelligent and uncommonly downbeat, and it's likely that only the most adventurous of older teens will be interested.
What's the story?
In a small baryo in the Philippines, circa 1900 (during the Philippine-American War), Rafael (Joel Torre) is a fair and beloved "head man" whose brother is the leader of a band of guerilla soldiers. Before long, the U.S. military arrives and occupies the village, and Rafael finds himself caught between trying to cooperate with Lt. Compton (Garret Dillahunt) and secretly helping his brother. A Spanish priest (Yul Vazquez) is also on hand to make things more complicated, while the bored Americans begin to dabble in drinking and flirting with local girls. Soon Rafael and the lieutenant begin to understand each other, but will their newfound empathy protect them from the horrors of war?
Is it any good?
Legendary indie filmmaker John Sayles (Eight Men Out, The Secret of Roan Inish) delivers an uncommonly intelligent war-themed movie in AMIGO, and on a much smaller scale than usual. He burrows into individual characters, rather than battles; there are no clear "good guys" or "bad guys." Eventually the characters begin to discover one another's humanity, and war becomes an unfortunate side effect rather than the main point.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the movie's violence. How does its compare to what you might see in a blockbuster action movie? Which has more impact? Why?
Are there "good guys" and "bad guys" in this war? What does the movie have to say about war in general?
Why do you think the filmmaker chose such a downbeat ending? What does it mean?