Feature

Amigo

Jon Sayles's new film about the leader of a village during the Philippine-American war is an action film and an “intelligently rip-roaring” history lecture.

Directed by John Sayles(R)

**

Amigo aspires to educate more than entertain, but it’s no less engrossing for that,” said J. Hoberman in The Village Voice. Written and directed by indie stalwart John Sayles, it’s a story about the leader of a Philippine village who’s caught in the middle when American troops occupy his town in an effort to suppress a freedom movement stoked by the 1898 end of Spanish rule. Though “nearly every shot” Sayles includes in the film is “designed to deliver a message” about American imperialism, the result is a “thoughtful action film,” a history lecture that’s “intelligently rip-roaring.” But like a lot of Sayles’s historical movies, this one is better in concept than execution, said Richard Corliss in Time. Determined to draw parallels to more-recent American wars, Sayles lays out a complex array of competing interests, then for too long “refuses to turn up the heat.” But if the film’s “narrative blueprint is frequently visible,” the movie is saved by Filipino star Joel Torre, who gives the drama a conflicted but sympathetic protagonist, said A.O. Scott in The New York Times. “All in all,” Sayles is a “pretty good history teacher.”

Recommended

A Catch-22 in Taiwan and Ukraine
Earth.
Picture of Noah MillmanNoah Millman

A Catch-22 in Taiwan and Ukraine

Germany imposes new restrictions on unvaccinated
Angela Merkel.
'a very, very difficult situation'

Germany imposes new restrictions on unvaccinated

Olympic committee: 2nd call with Peng Shuai 'reconfirmed' she 'appeared to be safe'
Shuai Peng
'difficult situation'

Olympic committee: 2nd call with Peng Shuai 'reconfirmed' she 'appeared to be safe'

10 things you need to know today: December 1, 2021
A vigil for Oxford High School shooting victims
Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: December 1, 2021

Most Popular

Meghan Markle handed win in court battle with U.K. tabloid
Meghan Markle
meghan vs. tabloids

Meghan Markle handed win in court battle with U.K. tabloid

Late night hosts joke about Trump's secret COVID test
Donald Trump shares COVID with Joe Biden
Last Night on Late Night

Late night hosts joke about Trump's secret COVID test

Michigan prosecutor may charge Oxford shooter's parents, too
Oxford High School in Michigan
In loco parentis

Michigan prosecutor may charge Oxford shooter's parents, too