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American Gun


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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.

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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)
  • Domestic 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.
  • International Shipping: This item can be shipped to over 75 destinations outside of the U.S. Learn More
  • ASIN: B000FZEU42
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #87,311 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "American Gun" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By K. Harris HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on November 17, 2007
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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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Rosetta Jenkins on 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 By Jenny J.J.I. VINE VOICE on 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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7 of 13 people found the following review helpful By What's the frequency, Kenneth? on March 17, 2007
Format: DVD
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 propaganda around it were generated by someone other than those who created the film itself. If I had named the film, it would have been something more like "Stupidity and Violence" (perhaps "American Gun" sounds more provocative.)

The greatest stupidity is that people have been educated--particularly in compulsory government institutions--to ignore the reality that people must be held responsible for their own actions. An extension of that is that if people cannot accept responsibility for their own actions, they have difficulty, without some guilt, holding others responsible for their mistakes and aggression. In come firearms, and the responsibility that comes with owning and operating them. Because people have a hard time dealing with the reality of individual responsibility, they choose to hold inanimate objects such as weapons responsible for the actions of foolish and aggressive people.

This can account for the absurd term "gun violence." No gun ever did violence to anyone. Foolish or unthinking people do, and they do it with and without weapons, and if with a weapon, only sometimes is a firearm involved. The film itself depicts this by showing a number of senseless acts, committed with and without weapons--sometimes knives. What's more, it shows individuals who could benefit from personal protection, but being denied it by laws which are supposedly written to protect us. Every day, far more people defend themselves with firearms than hurt others with them, and because those instances are not reported in media, the violence they stop or avoid altogether is unseen.
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