Thursday, August 8, 2019



Ace (Royce Cabrera) and Miko (Kokoy de Santos) are aspiring actors who want to break into the local showbiz scene. As they wait for their big break, they go around the pageant circuit to earn exposure and cash, as well as engage in some illicit activities to supplement their lifestyle. Their latest target is a local competition, the winner of which will be sent abroad to represent the country. Lurking in the VIP area during finals night is a closeted Mayor (Ricky Davao) whose attendance is kept secret. As the two prepare for the final parts of the show, Ace is visited by her Sugar Mommy (Yayo Aguila) who surprises him with a passport and a trip to Phuket. After a torrid make-out session, he prepares to step onstage, but constantly receives blackmail messages from one of his patrons which include a video scandal that just might end his career.

Surprise, surprise. You know how gay indie films work. Based on the trailers for this movie, there is reason to believe that it won’t really break the mold. Until it does. The first half is your typical poverty porn/male flesh trade narrative. As the setting changes to a secluded island and then politics and crime start to factor into the main storyline, the plot suddenly shifts gears and enters suspense thriller territory as the two boys fight for survival in a world where the poor and the vulnerable are used as pawns by those in power.

It is for this reason that the producers should change their marketing slant if they want this film to successfully cross over to the mainstream. Young men onscreen who have no concept of a t-shirt have a very specific clientele and is somehow frowned-upon in Philippine society still driven by macho mentality. Blackmail and murder, on the other hand? Yes, everyone wants a piece of that. We’re not going to pretend that this film will break barriers to be socially relevant, but it does shed some light on what happens in the underbelly of society, which we often hear about in the news but never get to experience firsthand.

Aguila swoops down for some piece of the action, but hers is more of an interesting cameo, some sort of redemption from the tedious yet unnecessary melodrama she had to endure in last year’s The Lookout. It is Davao who totally steals the show. Very different from his rebel grandpa role in ANi, here he offers a no-holds-barred acting piece as your typical Pinoy political dynasty TraPo with an LGBTQ twist. Needless to say, he received the loudest applause when the credits started rolling. Well-deserved, to be honest.

In a way, the plot resembles that of Pandanggo Sa Hukay. Both films start off establishing the premise and dealing with mundane details of the characters’ daily lives before changing lanes and becoming a thriller. Both are effective and keep you on the edge of your seat as you try to guess what the outcome of all this will be. While Pandanggo Sa Hukay’s conclusion is firm and concrete, F#*@bois’ is more open ended.

This could be viewed as the more convenient option for the filmmaker by avoiding closure altogether. On the contrary, it can also be considered as simply being open to the audience’s own interpretation. On a more figurative sense, though, it somehow mirrors real life where we constantly hear about such news and get engrossed in problems that aren’t ours but never get the closure for the story because they just fade into obscurity. Such is just the case for this type of narrative.

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