“Amigo” is a historical drama from John Sayles, who made the fantastic “Honey Dripper” and “Lone Star.” It’s too bad this take on a 1900s episode in U.S. war and foreign policy is one of Sayles’ weaker pieces, falling well short of those prior titles.
Around 1900, and during the Philippine-American war, a Philippino baryo (or barrio, as spelled in the U.S.) chief Rafael Dacanay (Joel Torre), faces a dilemma after U.S. Army troops come and occupy his community: either support his community, and family and quash that armed presence or support those troops, while his people doubt his allegiance, in order to survive?
“Amigo” is boring for the most part, and slow. This film lacks that intangible and inexplicable “oomph,” which a potent, memorable movie needs. It comes off as a well-financed, but earnest high school or college production. Some of the actors, while skilled and well known to indie movie houses, merely walk through this.
This movie opens at the Film Society of Mpls./St. Paul on Friday Sept. 16th. They’ve booked better movies. But John Sayles has also made ‘em.
You remember how often you say, “hey, I always love so-an-so’s movies?” Just like your friend adore “everything” that Martin Scorsese, Michael Mann, or Spike Lee does, or which Oliver Stone used to do. When you look closely, as extraordinary as their talent is, each of them has also put out a few clunkers. Have you considered that, while you love three or four of their works, you only really love 1/3 or 1/2 of what they’ve put out? This one shouldn’t make that list.