Sunday, November 11, 2012

Madaling Araw, Mahabang Gabi


In all her drunken stupor, a bar owner's daughter (Angelica Panganiban) declares a dare in essence of a tradition called Pangangaluluwa and with a prize money of 10,000 pesos at stake, along with her companionship and negotiable pleasure. The participants are the bar's band members, along with some staff and random guests. All they have to do is steal something and bring it back to her. The guitarist (Rocco Nacino) and his fan (Buboy Garovillo) decide to steal coconuts and crabs, the former to impress her and have another shot at being her boyfriend, and the latter to hopefully get guitar lessons from him to impress his son. The drummer (Kean Cipriano) and his friend (Edgar Allan Guzman) try to steal a piglet, but end up smoking pot at a vacant lot in the company of a middle-aged mistress and fellow pothead (Cherie Gil). The band vocalist (Karel Marquez) and the gay waiter (Dominic Roco) discover his boyfriend having an affair and end up talking about sexuality and religion instead of stealing something, and ending the night with a confused kiss. There are more of them who end up dealing with personal issues and not particularly joining the dare, like a Frenchman (Callum David) who comes back to the country to find a girl (Glaiza de Castro), with whom he had a one day affair while touring the Underground River. She turns out to be the sister of the narrator, a refugee from Vietnam working as the bartender who has lost his zest for life.

As a whole, the movie lacks cohesion and starts to fall apart once you try to string everything together, which is probably what you should not do. The best way to see it is to watch the many subplots and choose which one to appreciate the most, as they kind of differ in orientation. Most of them are forgettable, though, and seem more like moments of being high, in a sense that the characters themselves are either on crack or drunk, or the dialogue and the circumstances are plain surreal, such as the subplot of the cosplayer.

As appropriately hinted on the movie poster, Panganiban's character is supposed to be the one to connect everything together, but this simply does not happen. In fairness to her, this is one of those many roles in which she portrays someone lacking in poise, and for some reason she always nails it and is always a good source of laughter for the audience.

There are some interesting characters in the movie such as the gay waiter and the cosplayer. There are some interesting scenes in the movie like the kissing scenes between Cipriano and Gil, as well as the bank robbery scene. There are some interesting subplots in the movie, for example that of the French guy, the Underground River girl, and the Vietnamese refugee. So yes, maybe there is something for everyone but as a whole, your verdict would more or less lean on the negative because if you think about it, the movie does not seem to make a lot of sense, though it might if you choose to consider the subplots individually.

In a way, it would have been nice to see some of the subplots removed so the few interesting ones would have been given the chance to at least develop into something worth a movie admission ticket. That of the French guy, Underground River girl, and her brother would have been interesting to watch. Although cliche, the refugee twist would have made a good story out of it. Or that subplot with Cipriano and Gil, which seems to take a cue from the song Mrs Robinson. Or that unlikely one night stand between the vocalist and the gay waiter. Sorry, just suggesting. The epilogues are fun to watch, by the way, even more so than the movie itself.

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