American Gun 2005 R

Amazon Instant Video

(11) IMDb 6.3/10

Seemingly disparate portraits of people -- among them a single mother, a high school principal, and an ace student -- distinctly American -- all affected by the proliferation of guns in American society.

Starring:
Marcia Gay Harden, Forest Whitaker
Runtime:
1 hour 35 minutes

American Gun

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Product Details

Genres Drama
Director Aric Avelino
Starring Marcia Gay Harden, Forest Whitaker
Supporting actors Donald Sutherland, Lisa Long, Chris Warren Jr., David Heymann, Chris Marquette, Amanda Seyfried, Nikki Reed, Joseph Kell, Tony Goldwyn, Rex Linn, Kevin Phillips, Davenia McFadden, Linda Cardellini, Schuyler Fisk, Michael Shannon, Arlen Escarpeta, Charles Duckworth, Todd Tesen
Studio IFC Film
MPAA rating R (Restricted)
Rental rights 48 hour viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Other Formats

Customer Reviews

Informs us that one move can change your life and others with it.
Brandi C.
The Whitaker plot is better, if more conventional, and features strong work by Chris Warren Jr. as a promising student trying to make good.
K. Harris
If you decide to view or purchase this film, please keep the aforementioned thoughts in mind.
What's the frequency, Kenneth?

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 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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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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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Brandi C. on 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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