One of the best films of the year ang ‘Honor Thy Father’. Simple lang ang kuwento but the technical execution and acting made it so much better. Panoorin si John Lloyd be his best at his worst (o ha, Popoy reference!) in his first ever MMFF entry.
SYNOPSIS: A pair of married white-collar swindlers run afoul of their latest victims. (synopsis from the TIFF website)
DIRECTOR: Erik Matti
SCREENPLAY: Michiko Yamamoto
GENRE: Drama, Action
CAST: John Lloyd Cruz | Meryll Soriano | Dan Fernandez | Tirso Cruz III | Perla Bautista | Yayo Aguila | Khalil Ramos | William Martinez | Lander Vera-Perez | Boom Labrusca | Krystal Brimner
Ipinalabas ang Honor Thy Father, executive-produced and starred by John Lloyd Cruz, sa Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) bago pa man maging official entry ito sa MMFF. The buzz surrounding it is well earned: isa sa mga stand-out films ito this year. Direk Erik Matti (On The Job, Kubot: The Aswang Chronicles) delivers not only just another outstanding festival entry, but an outstanding film for the year, period.
Sinusundan ng pelikula si Edgar (Cruz), ang kanyang asawa na si Kaye (Meryll Soriano), at ang anak nilang si Angel (Krystal Brimner), as they deal with the fallout of a pyramind/multi-level marketing scam kung saan naging unwitting accomplices sila (ama ni Kaye ang may pakana ng nasabing scam). One of their victims threatened the safety of Edgar’s family, at dahil wala silang nakuhang tulong sa sinalihan nilang religious congregation, Edgar resorts to desperate measures.
Part heist movie,
part drama, at part thriller
ang kabuuan ng pelikula…
It was also able to touch
and give comment on
relevant social issues
Kung iisipin, Honor Thy Father is all about daddy issues. Bagama’t background characters lang ang kani-kanilang mga ama, Edgar and Kaye’s lives were affected by their actions and this pretty much got the plot rolling. Nariyan din ang father figure in the form of Bishop Tony (Tirso Cruz III), ang charismatic leader ng Church of Yeshua, whose wealth became the main plot device at source ng conflict. At siyempre nariyan din ang pagiging isang ama ni Edgar at ang kaniyang (anti-)hero’s journey. What’s intersting about these issues, though, is yung mga paraan kung paano tinalakay ang mga ito. This resulted in different—for a lack of a better term—creative executions. Naging part heist movie, part drama, at part thriller ang kabuuan ng pelikula. And what’s good is that it was able to touch on and give comment on relevant social issues (e.g., organized religion at ang possible pitfalls dito, ang nabanggit na MLM scams, poverty) without being too preachy about it.
May mga eksenang tatatak sa mga manonood, tulad ng head-shaving scene ni John Lloyd na gasp-inducing na sa trailers pa lang. Lalong effective ito sa pelikula kung saan may additional context ito. The sound effects are just as impactful; watch out for the scene sa isang rural bank dahil maganda ang pagkakalapat ng tunog to capture a tense situation. Maraming shots na nasa enclosed spaces (minahan, sewer) o nasa madilim na setting (claustrophobes, you’ve been warned). Essential sa kuwento ang mga eksenang ‘to though, and to be fair, maayos ang pagiging madilim nito. In short, maganda ang technical aspects ng pelikulang ito. Naiangat nito ang kuwento to another level.
The movie is also supposed to be John Lloyd’s most challenging role yet. The scenes in the movie prove this, so congratulations Mr. Cruz for a job well done. He delivers, as always. Kudos din kina Meryll Soriano, Tirso Cruz III, at Perla Bautista (who plays Edgar’s Nanang). Even the rest of the supporting cast gave very solid performances, kaya naman cohesive ang storytelling.
Ang tagline sa isa sa mga promo materials para sa Honor Thy Father goes something like “Ano ang gagawin mo para sa anak mo?” After watching the film, parang ang mas mainam na tanong ay “Ano ang gagawin mo kung may ama ka na tulad ni [insert one of the characters here]”? Either way, Honor Thy Father is a great movie. It honors the art of film-making by having a compelling narrative executed creatively. ♦