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.

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