22 July 2004 | terifitz2002
Where did this movie want to go anyway?
Tikoy Aguiluz is regarded as one of the Philippine movie Industry's top art film makers. But if the saying that "all artists are insane, but geniuses" is true, then tikoy Aguiluz is a clear exception to this. This movie shows a lot of his artistic side as a director, nonetheless with regards to screenplay and story handling, he was completely moronic. Its the same comment I would give if I wrote a review on his earlier film tatarin (Nick Juaquin should sue Aguiluz for his lame brained adaptation of his short story).
I honestly did not know how to begin reviewing this movie, because there really is nothing much to review. Let me just begin by stating the plot of this Movie. Joanne (Palermo) is an Americanized filipina who comes back to the Philippines, to live with her somewhat estranged Aunt and cousin, after her Boyfriend in LA impregnates her. Confused, damaged (by the fact that her boyfriend would not take responsibility for the baby), and broke she has no Idea how to start her life in a God forsaken country that has nothing to offer her. Enter Rick (Estrada) a web-based pornographer, who uses his Internet cafe as a front for his underground business where Joanne happens to hangout most of the time. In no time Joanne easily confides in Rick (being americanized liberated himself), and in no time becomes one of Rick's top on line prostitutes for his business right after aborting her baby. Enter Habibe (De leon) a former top on line prostitute, who befriends Joanne. And being a mother herself, manages to put Joanne in a Dilemma regarding the moral consequences of her choice to abort the her child. Meanwhile we are also presented with the story about an NBI Agent (Abellana) who is tasked to investigate Internet crimes, and recruits a somewhat retired computer hacker named Spike (maceda) as a means to an end. Spike however happens to be an enthusiasts of pornographic web sites and one of them happens to be Joanne's site. What begins as a simple kinky escapade turns into infatuation. In no time they engage in an online roller coaster bondage that sets no limits. And because of this we see Spike in a dilemma regarding the implications with his collaborations with the NBI.
As far as visuals and cinematography is concern, it is failrly good. It is very creative and innovative, and takes us inside the mind of the main characters (Spike and Joanne). The camera works also can tell stories themselves even without the dialogues. The shots can show us the loop holes of our own Filipino cultures and the moral dilemmas that are with it.
Pallermo's acting was also fairly convincing, being Americanized herself in real life. In other words she gives justice to the character of Joanne. Estrada and Deleon's, acting was a bit rusty on this one, but Macedas portrayal of a computer nerd is definitely an all time worst. The way I see it spike is a nerd, has a very poor self esteem, that is why he prefers to spend most of his time in front a computer. Not only was Maceda's acting terrible, he shouldn't have even been casted for this role. Maceda looks more of a street punk than a computer geek. I guess it would be a shame to make a skin flick with actors who wont look good naked in front of the camera. Other than that, I do not see a justification for Macedas casting in this movie.
Here's where the Bad is. The story itself pulls us to so many directions that at times we would be confused where we would go. We are first taken into the dilemma of Joanne, then Rick's Perversion, then the situation of on-line crimes in the Philippines, and the lack of internet laws that makes it difficult to catch culprits. Moreover, the story is being pulled at so many directions that at the middle of the film I said "to hell with all of you"! Lets be clear about one thing, as an audience we have to care what will happen to the characters at the end. If its an action flick, we have to care if the protagonist makes it alive after wasting all the bad guys. If its a romance, we have to care if the lovers will have a happy ending. But this movie did not leave me anything to care for what would happen to the characters in the end.
Bottom line is, Tikoy Aguiluz should have saved money by making a documentary regarding on-line pornography. Because there is really not much entertainment value in this movie. If you want to find entertainment in fancy camera work, then I suggest that you go and pick a silent movie instead. I guess Aguiluz shouldn't equate fancy camera work with a good movie.