American Me (1992)
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|Movie Review by Derringer |
December 23rd, 2008
NOTHING LEFT TO THE IMAGINATION
AMERICAN ME is, to say the least, one hell of a rough and raunchy movie-ride.
AMERICAN ME drags the viewer straight down into a literal cesspool of crime, where 'cut-throat' violence and murder prevails.
To give you some idea of what you're in for with this flick - There are a total of 6 - Yeah. That's right - 6 rapes in this flick. Of these 6 rapes (all violent, of course), only one is a heterosexual rape. With AMERICAN ME's running time of 2 hours, that averages out to be about one rape every 20 minutes. Is that good, or bad? I guess it all depends on your own personal view of homosexual rape. For me, one rape would've be quite enough. I get the message. Thank you, very much.
Set in Los Angeles, AMERICAN ME ambitiously attempts to cover 30 years in the life of a Chicano Gang Leader named Santana. Of those 30 years covered in this flick (from the age of 19 to the age of 49), Santana spent a whopping 18 of them behind bars in Folsom Prison, California. All of Satana's crimes were, in one way, or another, related to heavy-duty drug dealing and/or armed robbery.
While serving time in prison Santana, a real shrewd and ruthless operator, quickly became the undisputed ringleader of what was known as the Mexican Mafia. It was, literally, he who ruled over the drug dealing and murder inside Folsom. Any in-mate who ever dared to double-cross Santana, for whatever reason, was unmercifully subjected to the most unbearably violent gang rape imaginable, and, then ultimately murdered. Any murder ever arranged by Santana was always carefully orchestrated so as to appear as if it were purely accidental.
Of his time spent outside of prison, Santana just couldn't cut the mustard. He sincerely did try to turn over a new leaf, but, no way. He just couldn't seem to avoid getting caught up in the same old 'cat-and-mouse' game of crime, all over again. It didn't take long for Santana to be pounding the beat behind bars, again, serving, yet, another long term of sentence.
Santana is eventually stabbed to death in prison, where his own men betray him and even take part in his murder.
As movie-entertainment, AMERICAN ME has a fierce, raw power, all of its own. With its eyes wide open, AMERICAN ME doesn't flinch from reality once. It forces and compels the viewer to watch all of the unpleasant, gut-wrenching horrors of prison-life, defying anyone to turn their eyes away from the atrocities on the screen.
Released in 1992, AMERICAN ME is an impressive directorial debut by EDWARD JAMES OLMOS, who also played the part of the hardened criminal, Santana.
The prison scenes in AMERICAN ME were all shot inside of Folsom, where the in-mates were used as cast extras.
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