You aren’t going to see too many movies about the Philippine-American War, which resulted from the Spanish-American War — it’s an unpleasant piece of American history that’s seldom remembered in modern classrooms, and it’s certainly not much of a pop culture topic. But leave it to a film maker like John Sayles to take something like that and create something that could potentially be a remarkable and intense experience.
His newest film, Amigo, takes place in 1900 in the Philippines during the uprising, and it looks like another gorgeous, character-driven, unflinching film. The American portion of the cast is spectacular — Chris Cooper, who was so goddamn brilliant in Sayles’ Lone Star (as well as Matewan and City of Hope), plays a hard-nosed American army colonel, and it also features the outstanding Garret Dillahunt, who recently completely wrecked me in Oliver Sherman, as well as, um… DJ Qualls. OK, sure, why not. I admit that I haven’t heard of the Philippino stars, Joel Torre and Yul Vazquez, and Ronnie Lazaro, but they look like they’re traveling a hard road in this film, and acquitting themselves well.
The trailer starts out poorly, I confess — mainly because I’m not thrilled by the voiceover, but then, I never am. But it picks up and while it’s not a totally engrossing trailer, it’s got enough to make me want to see the film (particularly the cinematography, which looks breathtaking).
Check it out: