Independent filmmaker John Sayles has always been a one-man band.
He writes, directs and edits his movies, gravitating to topics rarely taken on by Hollywood: class conflict, race and American imperialism.
Sometimes his films are a heady brew of smart writing, compelling plots and standout performances, as in “Passion Fish” and “Lone Star.” Of late, though, not so much.
His newest, “Amigo,” sounds better in theory than it plays in practice.
This disappointingly listless historical drama is set in the rural Philippines during the barely remembered Philippine-...