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Life seemed almost perfect for Martin Tillman (Coburn)...until a shattering act of random violence took the life of his daughter Penny (Madsen) during a Christmas visit. Now Martin realizes that there is only one way he can move on from this tragedy—to solve the mystery of Penny's death by tracking the trail of the gun that killed her. Featuring the unforgettable final performance of screen legend James Coburn, this outstanding motion picture follows Martin's dramatic cross-country quest to discover the truth and heal his family.
Top Customer Reviews
The story is fairly fresh; a WWII veteran (played by the then 72 year old Coburn) who has had a relatively successful life loses his daughter to a gun. He goes on a long sabbatical in which he traces the history on the gun that killed his daughter. Positive and negative aspects are explored. A poor inner city student shoots his friend then commits suicide with the gun. A young woman who was kidnapped and put in the back of a trunk uses the gun to save her life. As Coburn is investigating the history of the gun, he is writing letters to his deceased daughter in an effort to cope with the pain. All this is set to flashbacks from his war experience where he first learned to kill a man with a gun.
There are several subplots that are put into the movie; the story of Coburn is coupled with the rebellion of his only granddaughter and the ongoing tale of the gun that killed his daughter. Though it at times is a little messy, Jacobs brings the entire movie together at the end very nicely.
The best part of the movie is Coburn. At the age of 72, he successfully portrays a man that is in pain but who is still tough as nails. In one scene Coburn confronts a man much younger than him and his presence intimidated me.Read more ›
As to the final section of the film, I do not agree with those who believe the film falls apart or becomes unravelled. I enjoyed the sudden twist of the final few moments (though I can't say it was completely unexpected) and thought that it gave the film a final powerful blow. Rather than depict the lives of saints who are completely sympathetic and understandable, director Alan Jacobs decided to portray real characters-complete with moral ambiguity and problems.Read more ›
If you start watching AMERICAN GUN and are tempted to stop because Virginia Madsen apparently leaves the storyline early, don't! Not only is her character crucial to the overall plot, James Coburn knocks you out cold with his caring, but angry-at-the-world-and-himself portrayal of a father who loses a family member to a fatal gunshot.
I hesitate to describe too much of the plot since there are unexpected turns and twists that shouldn't be revealed, but I can elaborate on the style and lovely quietness of AMERICAN GUN. Maybe "quiet" isn't the whole truth since various gunshots explode throughout the movie as James Coburn explores the history of one gun that has traveled through many different hands. The loudness is also there when he looks back at his own experiences with ammunition in war.
AMERICAN GUN hit me so hard because it is an emotional film more than anything else. At first it seems to be about how a husband and wife each handle grief differently or how one man is determined to find his daughter's killer. In a way, that could sum it up, but there's also a lot about closure and what we think we see versus what is actually there.
The reason this indie deserves more acclaim is because it takes you places you don't expect to go and you are able to experience that great mental process called "thinking." Watch this by yourself--or better yet, rent it with a group of friends who truly enjoy discussing (but not talking to death) a great work of art.
On a side note: The whole cast is just spectacular (a small role by Alexandra Holden will get you a bit teary-eyed), but Coburn and Madsen shine.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
amazon rips you off on this rental----they do not paly the whole movie = you only get to watch 55 minutes of itPublished 15 months ago by Crystal Pfeiler
This movie is a great suspensefull movie. I love James Coburn. This seems to be one of his last movies he made. It has some slow areas in the movie, but it keeps you thinking.Published on April 7, 2013 by Amazongal
This is James Coburn's last film. It's an anti-gun movie with a twist near the end. It's relentlessly downbeat, but the violence is relatively restrained, so you don't have to... Read morePublished on May 20, 2009 by Bradley F. Smith
AMERICAN GUN offers the marvelous actor James Coburn in his last screen role. Director Alan Jacobs captures a surreaslistic atmosphere as he explores the trajectory of a gun that... Read morePublished on September 26, 2005 by Michael Butts
This movie is about a man played by James Coburn, who is determined to find out the origins of the gun that killed his daughter. Read morePublished on July 4, 2004 by Heather M
James Coburn's very last movie and probably one of his best ever.
In the Christmas Eve, his daughter gets shot to death, and the only thing that consoles him in those... Read more