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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > American Gun (2005)

American Gun (2005)


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: C-     Film: C



The film American Gun paints a bull’s eye on the effects that gun violence has on America and fires.  The film centers on three very different and individual stories that are linked by the happenings of gun violence.  First there is the amazing cast, which includes the fabulous Marcia Gay Harden who plays the struggling mother of a son who shot-up his school before taking his own life, now being thrown back into society as a shunned outcast attempting to raise her one surviving son.  Donald Sutherland also joins the cast as a gun shop owner trying to raise his granddaughter who he barely knows and can not relate to, while protecting the Americans’ right to bare arms.


A third excellent addition to the already talented cast is Forest Whitaker (most recently on the medical dram ER) who holds his ground as the antiviolence, anti-gun, no nonsense, educationally driven principal of an inner city school.  Overall, the acting caliber of everyone who took part in this film is wonderful.  The three stories never mesh together to become one like the viewer may expect but one can clearly see the link between each as each individual struggles to find their place in this violent and at times misunderstood world.


Though the acting is excellent the overall storyline fails to captivate.  The characters have a certain degree of depth and heart which is admirable but the entwined plot contains little substance to hold ones interest.  The film is adequate to watch once through to experience what good acting is, but beyond this the film remains loose and not very solid.


The technical aspects of this DVD are adequate but could be much better.  The picture is presented in an Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85 X 1 format, which for the most part is ok but color issues and light/dark problems often pop-up to takeaway form the film’s presentation.  The sound is also adequate but not outstanding in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround that often has high/low issues that also are distracting.  The extras include a lackluster “The Making of American Gun” which has little re-watchable value and does not have enough depth to comment on.


In the end, the film reminds this reviewer somewhat of the film Crash but not as solid of a storyline, which is disheartening since Crash on its own had storyline issues that detracted from the overall viewing.  Though the storyline was off putting the combination of actors and film style of American Gun are enough to make the film at least enjoyable for one sit through.  IFC films puts out an array of great releases, this particular film just lacking substance to be truly great.



-   Michael P Dougherty II 


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