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MPAA Rating: R-Rating (MPAA) for some violence and language.
not reviewed
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
War Drama
2 hr. 8 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
August 19, 2011 (limited)
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Relevant Issues
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Philippine-American War

war in the Bible

What is the Biblical perspective on war? Answer



village chief/mayor

impossible, potentially deadly decisions faced by ordinary civilians in an occupied country




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Featuring: DJ Qualls … Zeke
Chris CooperCol. Hardacre
Garret Dillahunt … Lt. Compton
Dane DeHaan … Gil
Lucas Neff … Shanker
Yul Vazquez … Padre Hidalgo
James Parks … Sgt. Runnels
Stephen Taylor … Private Bates
Bill Tangradi … Dutch
Joel Torre … Rafael
Pen Medina … Albay
Rio Locsin … Corazon
Bembol Roco … Policarpio
Ronnie Lazaro … SImon
Brian Lee Franklin … Cpl. Lynch
Irma Adlawan … Josefa
John Arcilla … Nenong
Jemi Paretas … Zuniga
Spanky Manikan … Tuba Joe
Merlin Bonning … Creighton
Ermie Concepcion … Dolores
Raul Morit … Chief
Raul Manikan … Felix
Miguel Faustman … Captan Narvaez
Joe Gruta … Hilario
Art Acuna … Locsin
Director: John Sayles
Producer: Pinoy Pictures
Arleen Cuevas … line producer
Mario Ontal … co-producer
Maggie Renzi … producer
Margie Templo … line producer
Joel Torre … co-producer
Distributor: Variance Films

“The heart remembers what even history forgets.”

Here’s what the distributor says about their film: “a film by John Sayles / A fictional account of events during the Philippine-American War.

AMIGO, the 17th feature film from writer-director John Sayles, stars Joel Torre as Rafael Dacanay, a village mayor caught in the murderous cross-fire of the Philippine-American War in 1900.

When U.S. troops garrison his village, Rafael comes under pressure to collaborate from the blood-and-guts Colonel Hardacre (Chris Cooper) as he tries not to betray his people. But the situation is complex. Rafael’s brother Simón (Ronnie Lazaro) is the head of the local Filipino guerillas, and considers any concessions to the Americans to be traitorous. A devious Spanish friar (Yul Vazquez) is charged with translating, but thwarts communication with his spiteful intrigues. A sympathetic American lieutenant (Garret Dillahunt) begins to learn that “hearts and minds” cannot be won at gunpoint.

Rafael is forced to make the near-impossible, potentially deadly decisions faced by civilians in an occupied country. Friendship and betrayal, romance and heart-breaking violence, AMIGO is a page torn from the forgotten history of imperialism and a mirror of today’s unresolvable conflicts.”

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Neutral—no comments
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
John Andrews, age 58 (USA)
Movie Critics
“…‘Amigo’ is not a simplistic parable of diabolical colonialists and their innocent victims. … ‘Amigo’ is a well-carpentered narrative, fast-moving and emphatic, stepping nimbly from gravity to good humor. …”
A.O. Scott, The New York Times
“…John Sayles tackles imperialism, racism and war in a film centered on the Philippine-American War. … the contemporary resonance of this portrait of racism and war, however obvious, is fully felt.”
Sheri Linden, Los Angeles Times
“…Sayles has always had to work cheaply, but for the first time, the cheapness shows. The ‘vast’ jungle never looks much bigger than an acre or two; the massive U.S. Army seems to operate out of a bare office, and a tent. The picture is small, and cramped. But its people, and its ideas, aren’t. They’re big enough to still deserve some careful consideration. …”
Stephen Whitty, The Star-Ledger (New Jersey)
“…overlong… preachy drama about the 1900 conquest of the former Spanish colony of the Philippines by the United States… [2/4]”
Lou Lumenick, New York Post
“…A complex political statement, ‘Amigo’ is epic in scale but trades the schmaltz of the traditional war film for a more resolute treatment of subject. The themes, characters and plotlines are hefty and resonant, and writer/director John Sayles treats each with sensitivity. …”
Barbara Goslawski, Boxoffice Magazine
“…Good looking, atmospheric and steeped in the culture of the rural Philippines of the time… Sayles depicts the young U.S. soldiers as a rough and tender mix, with most having learned to demonize the enemy even as the Filipinos they meet turn out to be friendly and cooperative. …”
Ray Bennett, Associated Press

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