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A fictional account of events during the Philippine-American War.

Director:

John Sayles

Writer:

John Sayles
1 win & 9 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Arthur Acuña ... Locsin
Irma Adlawan ... Josefa
John Arcilla ... Nenong
Merlin Bonning Merlin Bonning ... Creighton
Hoffman Cheng Hoffman Cheng ... Chop-Chop (as Sai Ho Cheng)
Reymart Colestines Reymart Colestines ... Malpulgas (as Raymart Colestines)
Ermie Concepcion ... Dolores
Chris Cooper ... Col. Hardacre
Dane DeHaan ... Gil
Garret Dillahunt ... Lt. Compton
Miguel Faustman Miguel Faustman ... Captan Narvaez
Brian Lee Franklin ... Lynch
Joe Gruta ... Hilario
J.P. Jagunos J.P. Jagunos ... Eloy
Ronnie Lazaro ... Simon
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Storyline

AMIGO, the 17th feature film from Academy Award-nominated writer-director John Sayles, stars legendary Filipino actor Joel Torre as Rafael, a village mayor caught in the murderous crossfire of the Philippine-American War. When U.S. troops occupy his village, Rafael comes under pressure from a tough-as-nails officer (Chris Cooper) to help the Americans in their hunt for Filipino guerilla fighters. But Rafael's brother (Ronnie Lazaro) is the head of the local guerillas, and considers anyone who cooperates with the Americans to be a traitor. Rafael quickly finds himself forced to make the impossible, potentially deadly decisions faced by ordinary civilians in an occupied country. A powerful drama of friendship, betrayal, romance and heartbreaking violence, AMIGO is a page torn from the untold history of the Philippines, and a mirror of today's unresolvable conflicts. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some violence and language | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Blog | Official Facebook | See more »

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Filipino

Release Date:

6 July 2011 (Philippines) See more »

Also Known As:

Baryo See more »

Filming Locations:

Antequera, Bohol, Philippines See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,700,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$37,324, 21 August 2011, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$183,490, 11 March 2012
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(cut)

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Before Amigo, the last movie about American forces in the Philippines was John Dahl-directed The Great Raid (2005) which tackled World War II in the Philippines. Also in that movie was Bembol Roco who also appears in Amigo. Also in The Great Raid (2005) was Cesar Montano who, just like Joel Torre, also plays Jose Rizal in José Rizal (1998). See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Title Card: At the beginning of the last century, the United States declared war on Spain. They pledged to free the island of Cuba, ninety miles to their south, from colonial rule. It was thus that the American troops came to yet another Spanish colony, half a world away. They decided to stay.
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Connections

Featured in Bottomline: John Sayles (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Kundiman of 1896 (Jocelynang Baliwag)
Traditional
Arranged and performed by Raul Manikan
Daring Music/Administered by Universal Music Corp./ASCAP
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User Reviews

 
The Tragedy of Getting Caught in the Crossfire
7 July 2011 | by 3xHCCHSee all my reviews

It is always difficult to tackle a war on film equally and fairly. Each side has its own interests to protect and uphold. Everyone regards the other as an enemy against them. There will be losses from all sides, direct and collateral. Yet, in the end, no one really wins. In "Amigo" by veteran director John Sayles, attempts to show all sides of a multi- dimensional conflict that was the Philippine-American War.

The film brings us back to the turn of the previous century, 1900, when Spain just ceded the Philippines to the USA. A group of young American soldiers under former architect Lt. Compton (Garrett Dillahunt) take control of a remote village called San Isidro. Trying to maintain some semblance of normalcy in his hostaged neighborhood was the barrio captain Rafael Dacanay (Joel Torre). There was also the Spanish friar Padre Hidalgo who continues his churchly mission, while interpreting for the Americans. On the other front, we have the Filipino revolutionaries who camp out in the jungle, led by Rafael's brother Simon (Ronnie Lazaro).

So we can see here a complicated web of intersecting conflicts that Sayles weaved for us. This was presented in a way that the audience can see the way each of these groups thought. The dialog went from English to Tagalog to Spanish and the occasional Chinese, so everything was seemingly told "in their own words." It will be very interesting how this movie will be viewed by audiences represented by the involved parties. While the story had a slow progression at the start, by the time it reached the climactic scenes, the suspense and tension was electric. The ending though was a bit awkward in my opinion. But definitely, the audience, especially the Filipinos, will identify with the conflicts within the tragic character of Rafael, who was caught between keeping the peace in his barrio, and his brother's cause for Filipino independence.

Joel Torre properly captures Rafael's essence and plays him with fervor and passion. Of course, with all the rather hammy acting of the unknown foreign actors behind them, the talent of Torre and the rest of the veteran Filipino cast (notably Rio Locsin as Rafael's religious wife) shone right through. The one known American actor Chris Cooper was in a one-dimensional villain role as a war freak American colonel. As the friar, Yul Vasquez seemed to be more American than Spanish, as he even had a forced Spanish accent. But I do congratulate him for his very good Tagalog speaking. I'm not very sure if it is an error, but I noted the Chinese characters (who were apparently there for comic relief) were speaking in Cantonese, but the predominant Chinese dialect in the Philippines should be Fukienese.

Overall though, this is a very good and thoughtful film about a war that had not been tackled before in Hollywood before. To his credit, American John Sayles directed this movie as if he was a true Filipino. He was successful in telling us his story from the Filipino point of view. He was even able to inject some vignettes of Filipino rural culture with scenes of a fiesta, a funeral and cockfighting. Filipinos should really go out and support this unique motion picture.


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