After spending most of his life in prison, Mexican Mafia leader Montoya Santana is released and falls in love for the first time, even as he struggles to reassimilate into a much-changed outside world. As he does, he begins to have second thoughts about his gang life, which began when he was a boy.
Mr. Olmos is the lead, playing the gang leader Montoya Santana. He also directed and produced the film.
American Me was released by Universal Studios on March 13, 1992. The runtime is 125 minutes.
Buy on Blu-Ray or DVD
- American Me is Mr. Olmos' feature-film directorial debut
- American Me was shot in the real Folsom prison with actual inmates
- Mr. Olmos received death threats for making American Me, which depicted the criminal activities of gangs on both sides of the bars.
- Mr. Olmos shot the documentary Lives in Hazard simultaneously with American Me
- The Lives in Hazard documentary is part of the bonus features of the American Me DVD.
- Roger Ebert's review
- The Austin Chronicle's review
- Sun Sentinel review
- Baltimore Sun review
- L.A. Times review
American Me spans 30 years of Santana Montoya's life in the barrio and prison. It is an impressive, terribly brutal movie at times but the violence is neither gratuitous nor sensationalized. The film looks and plays almost like a documentary in some respects, and viewers are warned in advance about the content.
Mr. Olmos, who has shown a knack for cutting to the psychological quick in his direction, holds nothing back in this, his directorial debut, creating a film that is both powerful and unsettling in what appears to be an honest and unflinching look at the cycle of gang violence and life in the barrio.
This is not a movie for the family, nor the faint of heart, but I found it enlightening and think Mr. Olmos should be incredibly proud of this work.