Sunday, August 03, 2014

life in its ugly gory glory

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i saw The Janitor today and i was really impressed with the way the film was made.  it may probably be the only Cinemalaya entry i will get to see, given that people had a mad dash to get tickets and the one movie my schedule will allow.  there were certain flaws in the story, but i thought everyone in this movie did their damn best to come up with a great product. up until the third phone i was convinced that all of them deserved to die.  then you realize something doesn't add up and you question everything that you have been fed from the beginning the way Crisanto Espina did.

the movie is about suspended police officer Crisanto Espina, who works as an instructor for a security agency until his suspension is lifted.  caught in CCTV shooting a drug addict and ending up killing him is what cost him his badge.  turns out the addict happens to be a minor with really powerful parents and his faith and loyalty to his chief, played by Richard Gomez, hasn't helped him get reinstated.  i mean, come on, your chief provoked you into shooting a suspect who was already cornered,  he hid where the camera couldn't see him and then asks you to take full responsibility.  one thing i have learned from The Man in the Suit, was that shooting someone in the knee caps, keeps the bad guy from going anywhere, and still causes the perpetrator much damage without necessarily killing him.  but then if Crisanto just shot the junkie in the knee caps, he'd be a hailed as a hero, and not suspended so we wouldn't have a story.

also, do we really have to have a scene where Dennis Trillo is working out? and taking a bath? and it's weird he had all those tattoos.  are any of them real?

he looked troubled.  he looked conflicted.  he looked like how any God-fearing cop who saw all he believed to be true just turn to shit that fast would look like.

i thought Nicco Manalo, who played the lookout-turned-eyewitness was great in this movie.  Nicco, who first wowed me with his performance as Moritz in Spring Awakening some years back, has created a niche for himself in both theater and independent films, away from his comedian-father's shadow.  it's still disorienting for me to hear that voice come out of his boyish frame.  the pain that he portrayed, being tortured, made me cringe a number of times, that you wish they would just shoot him to end his misery.  Jerald Napoles comes off as a really nice and funny guy, as we have seen in Rak of Aegis, so i thought he was believable as an arrogant trigger-happy ex-soldier who would abandon his pregnant girlfriend.  Alex Vincent Medina was a revelation to me; i had not seen anything or knew him prior to this movie, save for the fact that he is the son of the Pen Medina, with whom i share a birthday.  anyway, i digress.  not only did Alex inherit his father's unique sex appeal, but he got Dad's acting talent as well.  JC Santos is a delight (considering the last time i saw him was as the masturbating Hanschen in Spring Awakening) as Alex's reckless younger brother who has sex with Alex's boss' wife.  who knew Ynez Veneracion was still acting?

the more veteran actors, Richard Gomez, Ricky Davao, Raymond Bagatsing, Dante Rivero, Derek Ramsay (while not really more veteran, but more mainstream in all those adultery-themed movies) and of course, Miss Irma Adlawan, including newcomer LJ Reyes, were terrific.  i cannot write any more words to describe how they all contributed to making this film as great as it is.  after all, Cinemalaya is all about love:  love of acting.  love of art.  love of life.  The Janitor shows us all of that in all its ugly gory glory.

it scares the shit out of me, this movie.  i am afraid that we remain a third world country because of the rampant corruption in our government.  i am scared that the people who swore to protect and serve us may be the same people who are out to rob us of our rights.  and that any one of us can be a victim or a perpetrator, just to protect those rights.  while i am scared, i am also challenged to care, to be vigilant.  to fight.  we cannot let the system win.