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Amigo: Movie Review

"Amigo" wants to tell a compelling story of the Philippine-American War - a war, in our opinion, completely lost to the Filipino's mentality and probably more so the Americans. Just see how much Filipinos love anything American and you will know what we mean. The movie, we believe, not only tries to be a historical piece on the war but also wants to voice out a political statement. In the end though, even with the beautiful scenery or the meticulous detail John Sayles's presented in "Amigo", the film cannot hide the fact that the story is a bland one at best. Read on to see the full-written review of "Amigo".

Rafael Dacanay (Joel Torre) is the head of the town of San Isidro. His brother, Simon (Ronnie Lazaro), on the other hand heads the local rebels. The rebels has forced the surrender of the Spanish outpost and charged Rafael with imprisoning the Spanish friar, Padre Hidalgo (Yul Vazquez). But when the American troops arrive and take over the town, everyone imprisoned is freed and a garrison under the command of Lt. Compton (Garret Dillahunt) is left to protect the town from the rebels. As tensions grow between the rebels and the conquering Americans, Rafael is forced to deal with both groups equally for the safety of San Isidro and its inhabitants.

You will be left disappointed if you think "Amigo" is anything more than a period film. It won't be controversial nor would it show any taint on the Filipinos, the Spanish or the Americans. It's biggest fault is a story that left us wanting and wanting for more and by the end of the film, all we could say was "that was it, really?". Minus the faulty and generic story is a film bounded with minutia detail and great performances especially from the Filipino outfit (it does showcase veteran actors from Philippine cinema and television). A lot of effort was made to make this as accurate as possible and it greatly shows. From the local dialect being spoken to the Friar speaking in straight Spanish and the need for translators all the time, you know that John Sayles was probably obsessive-compulsive when making "Amigo" and no one's complaining - not us for sure. The best part for "Amigo" though is the penchant for symbolism. It adds depth and meaning to a forgettable plot and caps "Amigo" better than most of it.

Rating: 3 reels





Why you should watch it:
- a good historical film due to the attention to details
- great performances from the whole cast especially the local actors
- symbolism after symbolism makes for great History/English papers (not good for students though)

Why you shouldn't watch it:
- a bland story destroys any inkling of greatness


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