American Me - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

American Me Reviews

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½ May 1, 2016
American Me is an interesting story about an underprivileged man with limited options of how to spend his life. Although it is slow at times, it is full of drama and emotion as the main character develops through the plot. I found certain parts difficult to follow but was interested the entire way through. I recommend this movie to anyone interested in action or prison and cholo culture.
February 5, 2016
As dark and powerful as any film I've seen.
July 1, 2015
Edward James Olmos directed and stars in this tale of gang life in east los Angeles, following 3 friends from juvenile hall to Folsom prison
½ May 30, 2015
Little known gangster film about arguably California's most influential gang. Can see why it's little known as it's a little boring
½ April 6, 2015
Well done crime drama as Olmos gives one of his best performances.
Super Reviewer
March 25, 2015
Although there's a stumble on a believable performance from the supporting cast and transitions, the film is an intimidating and pulse-pounding force of truth. American Me's hard-hitting exploitation and direction/production/performance from Olmos carries the film as an ominous and exceptional reality check. 4/5
March 22, 2015
I seen this movie and it ranks up with scarface and godfather Olmos outstanding performance.
December 29, 2014
Excellent movie. American Me feels more like a documentary than just a movie, as what we're watching feels real. It's smart, disturbing, well-written, and has incredible performances from its cast, as well as fantastic direction from Olmos.
December 20, 2014
is a really good movie
November 5, 2014
this movie is the best of all the movies that I have seen before I like it a lot I'll give it five stars
September 28, 2014
"American Me" es una película sobre prisiones (reales y del alma) dirigida y protagonizada con una energía cruda y directa por Edward James Olmos y con fuertes escenas que nunca olvidarán. Es una lástima que al final trate de sobre-explicar lo que ya estaba dicho.
July 9, 2014
great movie although it caused a few killings in real life due to the director,writer putting in false details about the rape scene at the beginning of movie
½ March 11, 2014
American Me is uncomprimising, realistic, violent and powerfully written. This is definitely one of the best gangster films I've ever seen and would highly recommend it to any fans of the genre. It's Mexican-American aspect brims brightly and puts the viewer into the lives of the characters and their culture with such ease. The character development of Santana is flawless and to make things even better the movie also develops his parents. With great pacing, well written and developed characters, terrific performances, a great soundtrack and an ending wrapped up well, American Me is a true underrated gem.
March 1, 2014
American Me is an honest, brutal film that brings the reality of the California Prison Gangs to your living room! Olmos doesn't hide behind the camera he takes on the real life icon and does so superbly-I know cause I lived it for over 20 years!
January 30, 2014
For some reason I've always liked Blood In Blood Out which was loosely based on the true story this was based. Both are the story of how the most powerful prison gang took power. The Mexican Mafia organized prison and street crime the way the Sicilian Mafia organized crime in America. Edward James Olmos directs and stars as one of the most influential members of La Eme. This one always felt incomplete, like they skipped over some stuff. Then again, that's what books are for. The movie EJO into some hot water with La Eme particularly with La Eme's use of homosexual rape as to torture an enemy, which is considered extremely dishonorable. Also, they took exception with protagonist's ultimate fate. I'll save saying for those who haven't seen it, because you damn well should.
½ January 15, 2014
I enjoyed it up until the last act then it just got confusing...I might watch it again.
½ December 6, 2013
It's a Mexican - American History X, sort of... but in a good way...
½ November 24, 2013
Great movie Holmes! entiendes Mendez!
Cinema-Maniac
Super Reviewer
November 10, 2013
"You're like two people" we hear a voice say in American Me and that line applies to the film itself. One half prison film on Montoya Santana building an empire and one half fish out of water exploring Santana living outside of his bubble experiencing the real world for the first time. These two vastly different world unfold right before our own eyes are similar to our very own lives. Individuals following rules, helping one another in a community, facing consequences for breaking a path, hierarchy of power, and among other things. Asking one very important question by the end; Should we attempt to fix things we didn't create ourselves?

American Me follows a Mexican-American Mafia kingpin release from prison, falling in love for the first time, and grows introspective about his gangster lifestyle. The story is based around true events, but when the film tells it audience some events were fictionalize it all hits home without losing any shred of impact. It's portrayal of criminal life is not one sided only wanting to portray greed, honor, or a place of belonging. Instead it chooses to explore choices and how influential ones action can affect a generation. How something like violence becomes a common occurrence in someone's daily life. Exploring serious themes without a scapegoat placed on person or race, but specifically culture itself. Santana says at one point in the film "What we'd done in Compton was wrong. It was supposed to be business, but came out racial". This simple line of dialogue gets across Santana personal feelings, but beyond that translates into a greater understanding of the crime world presented. Not all act of gang violence are fueled by racial tensions, not all criminals can get behind an act of violence, and not all criminals are accepting to negative change. There is allot more thought put into it than just obtaining power. Machismo (Spanish word meaning strong or exaggerated sense of manliness) culture is highlighted in the film leading to dehumanization. Can the habits of someone life takeover them to the point the soul that drive those habits destroy them? It has those answers no matter how difficult it is to accept the answers it provides us.

In American Me we have traditional characters alongside traditional issues; however, what separates American Me from other Hispanic crime films is the highlighted theme of two. Our film begins before our main character is even born. Upon seeing this prologue one might be quick to believe that Montoya Santana father unable to view his son in a positive light is because of how Santana came out, but instead is seen differently through his father eyes. It's not what Santana did, but the reason behind it that he represents that disgust Santana's father. All throughout the film we're given one way how a scene plays out, but multiple layers behind the action committed in the film allowing two ways of seeing it. What comes across as a crime film exploring the difficulty with its own lifestyle becomes relatable. Dealing with the subject of one's own trouble identity in face of other individuals, other groups, other cliques. At length, creating or joining a clique or gang that may facilitate or solve the problem of seeking one's own identity, purpose in life, and place in society at large. Focusing on the true core of these issues never specifically applying only to a single group. These characters and their action might be different from our own never are they to far from allowing self reflection.

Edward James Olmos spotlessly portrays the leader the highly sensitive and aware of what leaders. Emphasizing the importance in creating, maintaining a particular image for success in the clique, which is to say in controlling perceptions at large, to command as well the respect of rival group members. William Forsythe has an equally fascinating appearance throughout the movie, as a no-nonsense gangster. Sal Lopes through his exterior embodies a broken man with coldness to everything. He hints of a more trouble man hidden beneath years of scars. The cinematography is impeccable, as is the case with the sound, and musical accompaniment or soundtrack. Direction is spotless with scenes being driven with passion behind the camera. Capturing the authenticity of the story and the raw emotion of it story.

American Me is a masterpiece beyond filmmaking becoming more than a film. It's piece of reality showing its ugliness and beauty with two different views. Bringing to light an issue all too relevant and common problems. Lifestyles or belief systems can be larger than life, larger than what humans sometimes can control themselves.

Special thanks to Alex A. who recommended me this under appreciated masterpiece. If anyone likes a great crime film you won't be disappointed with American Me.
October 20, 2013
I highly recommend American Me to any fan of classic Chicano gang movies. It's a story of one's vivid outlook on life behind the bars of a prison cell. going back on one's days as a small time street punk to becoming one of the most highly respected men in L.A.
A modern day tale of love, deception and hate, American Me is definitely worth a watch in my book!
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