American Gun

It's quite likely that you haven't heard of this movie. In fact, the only reason I knew about it is because I knew some people who worked on it. Overall, I'd say I liked it. I don't generally enjoy "message movies," because the themes being portrayed--in this case, the effect of the proliferation of guns on American society--are often pushed into the foreground at the expense of good storytelling. This movie didn't totally avoid that problem, but I think that the quality of the performances was enough to offset the fact that the script was a little shaky. All of the principal actors did a good job, and I particularly liked Forest Whitaker and Donald Sutherland. I've also been noticing Linda Cardellini more and more lately--I think she's pretty talented and I found it a little unfortunate that her storyline wasn't developed more. It was a little hard to see how it fit with the rest of the film. From a technical standpoint, it seemed a little obvious that the writer-director was new to filmmaking, because he chose to use a lot of what I call "film school" techniques. Some of it worked, like the way the different storylines had different film textures and color balances. On the other hand, some of the camera angles and cuts kind of bothered me. Still, I think that the film does what it sets out to do, which is to spotlight an issue that we as a culture are currently dealing with. I'm not sure that I completely agree with the standpoint the film seems to take, but it's a subject that certainly merits discussion. If it comes to your local indie theater (and you can check the release schedule at the film's web site), you might want to check it out.

Viewed: 3/25/2006 | Released: 3/21/2006 | Score: B

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