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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.Read more ›
Cast: Donald Sutherland, Forest Whitaker, Marcia Gay Hayden, Linda Cardellini, Chris Marquette, Nikki Reed, Arlen Escarpeta, Garcelle Beauvais, Amanda Seyfried.
Running Time: 95 minutes
Rated R for Rated R for violent content and language.
Three stories unfold in Aric Avelino's touching and sometimes difficult drama "American Gun", centering on the 3-year aftermath of shootings at a high school not unlike Columbine and the link between the three is the ever-present, dangerous object that we know of as the gun. Right at the start, snippets of the high school tragedy unfold amidst newsreels, pictures of the students killed in the massacre, and most distressing of all, the image of students fleeing from a study room, caught on a surveillance camera, as later on, the two armed kids enter the picture. Even more anguishing is the fact that even before they make their visible appearance, they can be heard via their deadly approach: the echoing sound of bullets hitting unspeakable targets. The mother of one of the killers, Janet (played well by Marcia Gay Hayden), carries much of the emotional weight of the story since from the start, fingers point at her as the reason that her eldest son committed these murders, for which she has now lost her job, and can barely support what is left of her family. She agrees to a paid interview -- seen filtered in and out of the news montage -- only because it can allow her to pay for her younger son's education. The terrible irony is he will now have to go to the same high school that his older son went to because she can't afford another one. Janet doesn't have any answers as to what lead to her son's rampage. Indeed, with many of these senseless acts, there is no true answer many of the times.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Another attempt by liberal "hollywoodites" (yea Participant Productions IFC produced it) to make a movie about something they know nothing about! Read morePublished on March 11, 2013 by Eigerman
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. Read morePublished on November 24, 2006 by Brandi C.
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 morePublished on September 3, 2006 by sneaky-sneaky
5 star film all the way through. A must see gem you should not miss. Fantastic!
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 morePublished on August 27, 2006