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American Gun (2006)

Marcia Gay Harden , Forest Whitaker , Aric Avelino  |  R |  DVD
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Marcia Gay Harden, Forest Whitaker, Donald Sutherland, Linda Cardellini, Arlen Escarpeta
  • Directors: Aric Avelino
  • Writers: Aric Avelino, Steven Bagatourian
  • Producers: Arlene Gibbs, Caroline Kaplan, Chris Adams, Chris Salvaterra, David Grace
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Ifc
  • DVD Release Date: August 29, 2006
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Shipping: Currently, item can be shipped only within the U.S. and to APO/FPO addresses. For APO/FPO shipments, please check with the manufacturer regarding warranty and support issues.
  • ASIN: B000FZEU42
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #195,714 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "American Gun" on IMDb

Special Features

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Editorial Reviews

An Oregon mother (Marcia Gay Harden) whose son was killed after going on a high school shooting spree, an inner-city Chicago principal (Forest Whitaker) who deals with violence on a daily basis, and a Charlottesville gun shop owner (Donald Sutherland) are among the disparate group of people whose lives are all deeply affected by Americas ever-growing obsession with firearms. Tony Goldwyn, Linda Cardellini, Schuyler Fisk also star in this powerful and timely drama. 95 min. Widescreen (Enhanced); Soundtrack: English Dolby Digital 5.1.

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
(11)
3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
When the Paul Haggis film "Crash" won an Academy Award for Best Picture for 2006, I wasn't surprised but I was a bit disappointed. Don't get me wrong, I liked "Crash" well enough--but it was a message movie of the most obvious type. Even stellar performances could not hide its manipulative nature and the contrivance that helped move the plot forward. The "racism is bad yet prevalent in society" theme bludgeoned the viewer with an important lesson--one that might have benefited from a little more subtlety in the storytelling. But why talk about "Crash?" As the indie film "American Gun" began, I immediately sensed the similarities. A disparate, seemingly unrelated group of characters was introduced and I was sure I was in for colliding stories with an important lesson about gun control and violence.

Well, there's good news and bad news. First the good: "American Gun" features a tremendous cast doing great work, and the film is not a preachy diatribe that tells you how you should feel ("Crash" anyone?). However, the bad news is that some of the storylines seem a bit underdeveloped. The end result is that this is a solid piece of filmmaking that falls short of being great. It's definitely worth a look, for a variety of reasons, but it didn't end up packing the emotional punch that I had hoped it would. While some viewers may be left unsatisfied with the general lack of resolution, it was several underwritten subplots that were more problematic for me.

The principle story involves Marcia Gay Harden as the mother of a boy who has gone on a Columbine-like shooting spree at his school. Three years after the event, she and her other son (Chris Marquette) are still trying to deal with the aftermath.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting plot delivered by outstanding actors. December 9, 2013
Format:Amazon Instant Video|Verified Purchase
Low keyed but powerful. So many stories in one film. Outstanding acting by lead cast especially Forrest Whitaker as a deeply torn school principal whose job has impacted his own family as he seeks to better the lives of his students. Marcia Gay Harden is superb as the mother of a school shooter who must pick up her life for the sake of her other son who also struggles with a terrible legacy. The rest of the cast is also excellent as they portray people whose lives are touched by violence in many forms. I really enjoyed this movie.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice effort from writer-director Aric Avelino January 25, 2007
Format:DVD
"American Gun", is an attempt to do what so many filmmakers wish: to speak out on an issue, changing minds or informing, shedding light on dark areas. It is a shame that "American Gun" is not more successful, as it generally comes across as directionless, failing to convey its tagline message that firing a gun shatters more than silence.

In the style of movies like "Crash", or "Magnolia", "American Gun" follows several separate story threads that intertwine- though, it must be said, to a lesser extent than those films. Marcia Gay Haden plays the mother of a boy who took part in a Columbine-style assault on his school who now has to deal not only with the hostility of parents around her but also her other son, now marked by the shadow of his brother's actions. Forest Whitaker's character is the principal of an inner-city school who has become so consumed by protecting his school and his students that his relationship with his wife (Garcelle Beauvais) and son is suffering. The daily struggle to keep his campus safe hasn't prevented one of his better students, who lives in a dangerous neighborhood, from acquiring a gun to protect himself- especially during the night job he has taken on to support his family. Linda Cardellini is a college student working in a gun shop owned by her grandfather (Donald Sutherland) who is struggling to find her place in life, and Tony Goldwyn is a police officer forced to confront his feelings as one of the officers criticized for not doing more to prevent the school shooting tragedy.

The major problem with the movie is that a synopsis fills you in on almost everything you need you know about the content of the film.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great film about one of America's most taboo subjects November 24, 2006
Format:DVD
I got the chance to view this film on IFC onDemand, and may I say I happy I saw it. It was even better than I expected, although it ended too soon.

"American Gun" stars an ensemble cast of Marcia Gay Harden, Forest Whitaker, Donald Sutherland, Nikki Reed, Linda Cardellini, Chris Marquette, Amanda Seyfried, and Garcelle Beauvais, just to name a few.

Harden is a single mother struggling with the aftermath of her older son's school shooting (in which he was a culprit) and his suicide. She is almost forced out of the neighborhood because of the crime that she is blamed for.

Whitaker is a caring principal in an inner city high school, who's morals are tested when his students begin bringing guns to school to protect themselves. You get the impression he cares more for his students than his wife (Beauvais, more beautiful and talented than ever) and his young son, whom he gives a girl's backpack to instead of buying a new one.

Sutherland is a gun shop owner who employs his college age granddaughter (Cardellini). At first, she is reluctant, but thinks again when her friend is almost raped.

"American Gun" is a character study of an action that is too close to any of us to take lightly. It does not exploit, but informs. Informs us that one move can change your life and others with it.

"American Gun" reminds that this is what filmmaking is about, even though it should have gotten a wider release.

For a good Indie film, I recommend not to rent it, but buy it.

Five stars
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars A waste of time
Another attempt by liberal "hollywoodites" (yea Participant Productions IFC produced it) to make a movie about something they know nothing about! Read more
Published 18 months ago by Eigerman
2.0 out of 5 stars Should have been titled "Stupidity and Violence"
The oddest thing about this film is probably its name. The stupidity and violence depicted in it were so typical and so general in nature that it seems apparent the title and the... Read more
Published on March 17, 2007 by What's the frequency, Kenneth?
4.0 out of 5 stars American Gun (2005)
Director: Aric Avelino

Cast: Donald Sutherland, Forest Whitaker, Marcia Gay Hayden, Linda Cardellini, Chris Marquette, Nikki Reed, Arlen Escarpeta, Garcelle Beauvais,... Read more
Published on September 7, 2006 by The Tweeder
4.0 out of 5 stars Pure Emotive Power
IFC has burst onto the movie scene with a series of gritty, realistic films such as "Sorry, Haters" and "CSA: The Confederate States of America. Read more
Published on September 3, 2006 by sneaky-sneaky
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't Miss American Gun
5 star film all the way through. A must see gem you should not miss. Fantastic!

-E.
Published on September 1, 2006 by Eric Thor Wensman
4.0 out of 5 stars When will the gun violence stop?
The stunning performance by Marcia Gay Harden playing a mother whose life has unraveled after her son shot up a school, is the real reason to see American Gun, a beautifully sober... Read more
Published on August 27, 2006
5.0 out of 5 stars A deeply affecting film
AMERICAN GUN is hardly the CRASH-Lite it's been deemed by writers who've only read the synopsis. Three scenarios play out independently of one another, even-handedly, in an... Read more
Published on April 13, 2006 by griffinmill
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