Mixed or average reviews - based on 14 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 14
  2. Negative: 2 out of 14
  1. 75
    Aric Avelino shows an almost tender restraint in his story-telling, not pounding us with a message but simply looking steadily at how guns have made these lives difficult.
  2. Reviewed by: Jessica Reaves
    The structural sibling to Paul Haggis' race relations opus ("Crash"), but beyond the similarly interwoven vignettes, it's a different animal altogether: messier, more complicated and ultimately more interesting.
  3. While this is not exactly a hopeful movie, it's a polished exercise in the kind of social commentary that can wake people up.
  4. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    The overall effect of watching his film is a bit like a nerve-racking game of Russian roulette: You just know a gun is going to go off, but you don't know which of this multitude of characters it's going to hit.
  5. Reviewed by: Felix Vasques Jr.
    The last act of American Gun is quite possibly one of the most ridiculous and forced dramatic twists I've seen in years.
  6. Three story lines make up this tense movie, and while each has its strengths, they don't quite add up to a satisfying whole.
  7. All of the stories are conceived as ongoing plights, and have no third act. Which would be an improvement on Haggis's hyperbolic civics lesson if Avelino had the chops to master realism and embrace ambivalence. The acting is pro enough to keep your blood up, but the reverb is minimal.
  8. If American Gun avoids the most obvious kinds of sensationalism, it has the flaw common to many editorial broadsides of overstuffing its episodes with melodrama and symbolism.
  9. 42
    The Sutherland segments are the most bothersome, because they never really reach a resolution, and because they're betrayed by Avelino's uni-faceted approach.
  10. A painfully earnest but dramatically inert film.
  11. 40
    The film is haphazardly structured, undercutting its potential power.
  12. Reviewed by: Joe Leydon
    Lacks focus and momentum as it attempts to interweave diverse story strands into a cautionary tapestry.
  13. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    It turns out the stories don't unite at all. Instead, we get a series of dramatic vignettes, most of them decently executed but all of them rooted in the weepy sensibility of TV movies.
  14. 30
    This is "Crash" with gun violence substituted for racism, although the tone of director–co-writer Aric Avelino's debut feature may be closer to one of those pious public-safety films that used to be shown to schoolchildren in order to frighten them out of potential bad behavior.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 13 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 4
  2. Negative: 1 out of 4
  1. ChadShiira
    Apr 8, 2007
    Janet(Marcia Gay Harden) and her son(Chris Marquette plays David) need to yell at each other until their ears bleed(and ours) as a distraction because "American Gun" is about to become convoluted. After David is thrown out of private school(because his mother did an interview about her other son), Janet informs her child that he'll be attending Ridgeline, the scene of his older brother's crime. Marquette can screams bloody murder at his mom all he wants; we're simply not buying it. A faculty and student body who are still in the process of psychical healing following a bloodbath of Columbinesque proportions(it's only been three years), would not allow David's entrance into the Ridgeline population without a fight. "American Gun" fires a few blanks(I'm also not convinced that a pacifist like Mary Ann(Linda Cardellini) would go to a firing range after one incident), but the inclusion of a predominantly black high school in juxtaposition with a white one hits the bullseye. When Jefferson County(where Columbine is located) residents were interviewed by the media after the slaying, a lot of them expressed disbelief that something like this could happen in their neighborhood. A school shooting is more likely to take place at the educational institution Carter runs. As the principal watches a third anniversary retrospective of the Ridgeline masacre, there is only sadness in his eyes, an understanding that he's been lucky, so far. In the film's deftest move, Principal Carter confiscates a student's gun, which leads to a situation we've never seen before on the screen. Full Review »
  2. DarkM.
    Jan 3, 2007
    Sure it has the "Crash"-esque feel, but it's not as bad as everyone seems to make it out to be. It's not like Hollywood has NEVER had similar movies come out at the same time, so give it a chance. Some fine performances, noteably Forest Whitaker, Marcia Gay Harden and Chris Marquette. Full Review »
  3. Jake
    Apr 6, 2006
    It's a terrible movie, but the message just pisses me off. Have you ever seen a gun unlock itself out of a cabinet, jump off a shelf, all by itself, and go out and shoot someone? I haven't, you know why? It's the people that choose to kill the people, not the guns. Full Review »