Saturday, July 16, 2011

Amok

♣♣♣♣/♣♣♣♣♣

A father (Nonie Buencamino) and his son talks about life and dreams while waiting for his wife to pick them up. Across the street is a barbecue vendor (Patricia Ismael) bickering with her daughter regarding money. Somewhere within the same area, a has-been stuntman (Mark Gil) gulps his morning energy drink before going back to his room to do another round with his whore (who has his own secrets). In a van along the street are two siblings (Lui Manansala and Archi Adamos) arguing about parenthood and life in general. A young man and his gay manager (Tuxs Rutaquio) board a taxi only to be rejected by the homophobic driver (Ku Aquino). At the overpass, a police officer (Efren Reyes Jr.) and an old lady (Ermie Concepcion) negotiate a planned arson of a slum area. On another overpass, a heated argument ensues between “fresh graduate” (Acey Aguilar) and his uncle (Roli Inocencio). These are among the scenes that keep the movie busy in the first half an hour or so. It is not until that scene where an old man (Dido dela Paz) loses his game of improvised billiards does the plot finally go forward, with a loaded gun used as a plot device.

Given this scenario everyone seemed confused as to what the director was trying to do. Each scene is marked by the introduction of new characters (usually a pair) and just when something significant that could drive the plot forward happens, the scene cuts away to the next set of new characters. As the number of characters grows, so does the level of intrigue in the audience, with regard to how the director would be able to weave the story lines together to form one cohesive plot.

All the action is concentrated on the latter half of the film. That is when everything starts to make sense. You will then find out that the characters really have nothing to do with one another except for their being located in the same area at the same time. The director does not attempt to build an intricate interwoven story. Everything is just a matter of coincidence. I see this as a symbolism of everyday life on the road. Just pass by a crowded area like the EDSA-Taft intersection on a busy day and you will see enough drama courtesy of the multitude swarming the place. But then, you just see the drama itself and not the background story of each of the persons involved. This is what this film attempts to do, to try to insert a short story behind all the drama just enough for you to get hooked but not too much for you to invest on the characters emotionally. Come to think of it, is it not almost the same in everyday life? Everyone is an usisero in this country, but not everybody cares enough to get involved. We are all pedestrians when it comes to one another’s drama. Curious pedestrians.

Mark Gil steals the show every time he is onscreen, and this is not even because of the nudity and the pumping scene. The audience was just laughing every time he was on; regardless if the scene was really intended to be funny or not. Noni Buencamino shines with the little screen time he gets, awesome actor. The others do their jobs well without upstaging anyone. Overall the movie is good. Curiosity gets you interested at the beginning while the thrilling action and musical score keeps you hooked on the second half. Not bad.

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