Acclaimed indie film director John Sayles takes a look into the Philippine-American War in Amigo (Friend).
Set in a fictitious barrio (small rural town), the film explores the crashing of cultures in the Philippines at a time of great uncertainty. At that time, the Spanish had just lost control of the archipelago and the Americans were quelling the Filipino rebellions mushrooming to free the country. In the barrio in focus, all the Spanish, American, Filipino, and even Chinese elements of society come into play, with the local town chief Rafael Dacanay (Joel Torre) and his family caught in the middle.
Sayles is very deliberate in moving the story forward, with a great deal of attention in sharing what life was like in the Philippines then. However, I felt there was a slight imbalance between the movement of the plot and the exposition on Philippine culture-- the film came off as too slow.
While there were notable actors in the film (Chris Cooper, Garret Dillahunt with Filipino actors Torre, Rio Locsin, Rey Lazaro, Pen Medina, and Bembol Roco), I couldn't help but notice the other actors sticking out because they were less compelling than the rest.
Amigo is a well-crafted historical piece on Philippine society, but the slow story keeps me from enjoying it to the fullest.