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Amigo (2011)

tomatometer

71

Average Rating: 6.7/10
Critic Reviews: 17
Fresh: 12 | Rotten: 5

No consensus yet.

audience

54

liked it
Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 420

My Rating

Movie Info

Amigo, from writer-director John Sayles, stars legendary Filipino actor Joel Torre as Rafael, a village mayor caught in the murderous crossfire of the Philippine-American War. When U.S. troops occupy his village, Rafael comes under pressure from a tough-as-nails officer (Chris Cooper) to help the Americans in their hunt for Filipino guerilla fighters. But Rafael's brother (Ronnie Lazaro) is the head of the local guerillas, and considers anyone who cooperates with the Americans to be a traitor.

R,

Drama

John Sayles

$0.2M

Variance Films - Official Site External Icon

Cast

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All Critics (45) | Top Critics (17) | Fresh (28) | Rotten (17)

A reflection on power and betrayal, on the thin line between acting as your conscience demands and protecting obligations close to your heart.

November 16, 2011 Full Review Source: Miami Herald
Miami Herald
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Sayles is always an interesting storyteller, and if "Amigo" isn't typical of his subtler methods, it's still a compelling look at history and its continuing influence.

October 6, 2011 Full Review Source: Arizona Republic
Arizona Republic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

"Amigo" might be the talkiest war movie ever made.

September 2, 2011 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

You could argue that the chief villain of the ambiguously titled "Amigo" is language, which is used quite deliberately to mock and mislead and betray.

September 1, 2011 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

By choosing Rafael as its hero, "Amigo" looks not only at a little-known part of American history, but at a rarely examined type of movie character.

August 19, 2011 Full Review Source: Newark Star-Ledger
Newark Star-Ledger
Top Critic IconTop Critic

An engrossing, perceptive, supremely humane drama about imperialism and loyalty.

August 19, 2011 Full Review Source: New York Daily News
New York Daily News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Offers a valuable history lesson.

March 13, 2012 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Naysayers might argue that the film's anti-war message is so obvious it doesn't bear repeating; but if that's the case, why do we tolerate so many unnecessary wars?

March 9, 2012 Full Review Source: Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

A nuance-free, emotionally stunted historical drama.

November 11, 2011 Full Review Source: Times-Picayune
Times-Picayune

Movies this intelligent and aware of so many different points of view should be celebrated, so kudos to Sayles for pulling it off, time and again, in his multi-decade career.

September 16, 2011 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

When John Sayles wants to tell a story, he makes fine movies such as "Lone Star" and "The Secret of Roan Inish." When Sayles wants to prove a point, he makes dreck like "Amigo."

September 16, 2011 Full Review Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press
St. Paul Pioneer Press

Amigo is quiet and slow, a war drama in which the war has mostly passed the main characters by.

September 15, 2011 Full Review Source: Las Vegas Weekly
Las Vegas Weekly

Sayles narrowly avoids the preachy direction in which Amigo pulls, largely because he isn't interested in making anyone into a punching bag.

September 6, 2011 Full Review Source: DCist

Neither character-narrative engaging nor educationally enlightening, the film adds up to a fail.

September 2, 2011 Full Review Source: Washington City Paper
Washington City Paper

There's no real sense of the atmosphere of a sticky, buggy, fetid jungle, and no intensity to a story that cries out for a sense of moral outrage.

September 1, 2011 Full Review Source: Oregonian
Oregonian

The film keeps several balls in the air simultaneously while never actually taking sides.

August 26, 2011 Full Review Source: East Bay Express
East Bay Express

"Amigo" is probably too didactic and period-bound to find a wide audience, and the Americans who would benefit most from it are likely to be confused by it.

August 25, 2011 Full Review Source: Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Honolulu Star-Advertiser

In its quiet way, Amigo builds to a devastating portrait of war's terrible cost.

August 19, 2011 Full Review Source: Film School Rejects
Film School Rejects

Amigo ought to be a great film: the subject is fascinating and still resonates today, even though it takes place over a hundred years ago. The Philippine-American war has been pretty much ignored...

August 19, 2011 Full Review Source: Leonard Maltin's Picks
Leonard Maltin's Picks

Not nearly dramatic or tense enough, even when it's showing us things that should touch a nerve or an emotion.

August 19, 2011 Full Review Source: Hollywood & Fine
Hollywood & Fine

Audience Reviews for Amigo

"Amigo" starts out on an ordinary day in the baryo of San Ysidro in the Philippines in 1900 before the silence is broken by the American army invading to restore order. Joaquin(James Obenza) escapes just ahead of the army's bullets to join the insurrectionaries led by his uncle Simon(Ronnie Lazaro), while leaving behind his father Rafael(Joel Torre) to lead the village. The Americans also release the prisoners held by the insurrectionaries, allowing them to go to Manila but Father Hidalgo(Yul Vazquez) agrees to stay as there are souls to save and people to annoy. Lieutenant Compton(Garret Dillahunt) is eager to move on also but Colonel Hardacre(Chris Cooper) orders him to stay behind so his soldiers can head off any rebellion.

"Amigo" is John Sayles in fine form in that he not only captures the rhythms and details of another time and place, with a little known bit of history which I had studied back in college, but also in telling a timeless story that admittedly does have a hokey and drawn out ending. He also economically employs scraps of dialogue to fill in the backstory on the various characters. A lot of that goes to his talent for telling a story from as many different angles as possible which keeps the villains to a minimum and not sugarcoating the actions of the insurrectionists. If there is one, then I would like to volunteer the colonel, as his actions will have repercussions for decades to come. It's not just the writing that is to be applauded but also an excellent use of crosscutting between similar activities as performed by different groups and the best metaphor ever for cockfighting. Throughout, it is the Filipino people that have the most sympathy here, as underlined by Rafael when he points out that they are fucked from both sides.
September 4, 2011
Harlequin68
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

"Amigo" is a small, interesting little low-budget film that benefits from beautiful photography and Sayles' well-paced direction. For its two hour running time, it breezes by and remains consistently entertaining. A few performances are off and the costume design is bland, but "Amigo" is another fine outing from one of cinema's greatest storytellers.
April 15, 2012
Stephen Earnest

Super Reviewer

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