Saturday, November 12, 2011


In 1900 during the Philippine-American War, a small Filipino village is occupied by a U.S. garrison that maintains dominance over the area hoping to root out any insurrectionists. The town's tax collector has the dubious honor of being appointed leader of his people and now must contend with the vicious Colonel and his people, while being placed against his brother and son who have joined the revolutionaries. John Sayles ("Lone Star", "Matewan") is one of the unsung writer/directors of the American cinema, creating intelligent dioramas that cross many people and cultures. Here is historical fictitious portrait of life in an occupied village, we are introduced to and get a great sense of whom all the players are, as is the case in all of Sayles' films. For example, we meet the town mayor, known as Amigo (wonderfully portrayed by Joel Torre), and learn of his disdain for the intruders but his fear for his people, including the rebels. We meet the cracker soldiers, led by Chris Cooper and Garret Dillahunt in fine turns, and feel like we know them all individually. Finally, we meet the rebels camping out in the hills and come to learn of their motivations and struggles. With "Amigo", John Sayles has lent his touch to create an all inclusive, ultimately tragic tale of miscommunication.