Most helpful positive review
23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on 12 March 2014
There are three very good reasons why everyone should buy and watch this film. Each are as important as the next and each are truly astounding. The first is the production of the film itself, by Sean Ellis, a British film producer and director who has only recently come to my attention. The second is the actor Jake Macapagal, who plays Oscar Ramirez in this film; such a fabulous performance of utterly believable and mesmerizing intensity from him throughout. And the final reason is the role played by Althea Vega, as Mai Ramirez. Each do something very special in this film, leading this critic to label this as the best film I have seen in a very long time.
Firstly, Mr Ellis. The first thing I noticed as I was watching it for the first time today was the cinematography, the way the shots were framed, especially in the remote outer regions of the Philippines, where Oscar, Mai and their little family are resident after Oscar has been unable to work in the factory where he works. The shots of the province where the story is set are simply stunning, showing the true beauty of the place. Great care has been taken to show the beauty and the adversity in this nation, by Sean Ellis, as he tries to tell a story he himself has written, produced and directed as an independent film.
Then there is the role of Oscar Ramirez. As a film watcher, you want this man to be successful in what he does. In taking his family out of their poverty stricken region and bringing them to the metropolis that is Manila, he is taking a huge risk, but here is a man who has little hope of even buying next year's grain, let alone farming it. Ask yourself the question therefore, how far would you go to secure the safety of your little family? This man goes to ends that most of us would not even dream of, especially when his back is forced against the wall and there is no way out. One has to admire the way Macapagal plays this, with honesty and integrity throughout. The decision he has to make at the end of the story had me shouting out at the screen, "tell the truth and do the right thing" but his choice was not mine. His was selfless. His was done in love for a family that he adored and it is in essence, a message that Ellis is asking us to consider, the depth of love in the midst of hope.
And if that is not enough reason for you to spend you hard earned, then consider this. Althea Vega's performance as Mai is at times, breath taking in its power and raw emotion. I have seen great actors like Orson Wells and Derek Jacobi do that thing where the camera focuses on the face, and the eyes have to do the acting. It is a dramatic technique that one has to be proficient at in order to be able to show the emotion being shared. It is something that Althea Vega does so well in this film. You wait till you get to the point I am talking about and see the sheer power of the scene; a woman placed into a position such as she is in by poverty and the need to survive. This film then, is making a number of social comments about the nature of life in this metropolis and how that life can go terribly wrong. It is the performance of Miss Vega that for me, inspires me to write this review. It is a role that demands someone who can pull this off and she does it so well. My wife, who was watching it with me, had to get up and walk away at certain points because she simply could not take it any further. Such is the intensity of this film.
So, if you want to see a film that will tug at the emotions, make social comments aplenty, make you think of what you would do in Oscar and Mai's position and show you a figure in Oscar Ramirez, that theologians would deem a "Christ figure" in the filmic genre, buy this film. The selfless act he makes at the end is simply spellbinding and had me shouting out at the screen, "oh you clever boy!" This is a fantastic film to watch and one I intend to keep. And even that awkward moment you sometimes find when watching a film with English subtitles does not exist with this one. You are half way through and it is as if you are ignoring the subtitles and know the language being spoken. Now that is classy from Mr Ellis in every conceivable way.
Buy it; you will not be disappointed!