Nakatatawa at witty ang ‘Mercury is Mine’, pero it’s also confusing, and WTF-ish. It pokes fun at Pinoy’s obssession with white men, which is a good topic worthy of conversation and reflection para sa manonood. For a dark comedy it’s good enough, pero its could have been more biting.
SYNOPSIS: Carmen, a middle-aged cook, is about to close down her eatery at the foot of Mt. Arayat when a white American teenage boy named Mercury approaches her and begs for work in exchange for nothing but shelter. (from the official website).
DIRECTOR: Jason Paul Laxamana
WRITER: Jason Paul Laxamana
CAST: Pokwang | Bret Jackson | Vincent De Jesus | Lee O’Brian | Maey Bautista | Bea Vega | Mitzi Ong | Leo Sarmiento | Justine Dizon | Waka Hasegawa | Uzziel Delamide | Kristof Garcia
Base sa mga previous movies ni direk JP Laxamana (Love is Blind at Ang Taba Ko Kasi), he always takes a jab at prevalent and relevant negative social constructs, bias, o mindset nating mga Pinoy by showing how stupid these are through comedy. Love is Blind attempted to discuss how we perceive physical beauty, while Ang Taba Ko Kasi tackled body image. In Mercury Is Mine, sinubukang talakayin ni direk ang pakikitungo natin sa mga banyaga–specifically Caucasian men–and, indirectly, white male privilege and how we still enable/glorify it. Tulad ng unang mga pelikulang nabanggit, Mercury is Mine is loads of fun. However, tulad din ng kaniyang previous offerings, medyo kulang ito ng bite to get the intended message across. It’s a good enough dark comedy, but it could have been better.
Mercury is Mine revolves around Carmen (Pokwang) na nagmamay-ari ng isang eatery malapit sa Mount Arayat. Hindi maganda ang business, despite the influx of hikers na napapadaan malapit sa tindahan niya. One dark, stormy night, napadpad si Mercury (Bret Jackson), isang 16-year-old American, asking Carmen for shelter.
Dito nagsimula ang relationship nilang dalawa. Nagsilbing waiter ni Carmen si Mercury, and his presence attracted customers (because cute foreigner). Pero sa kalaunan ng pelikula, the said relationship gets through different ups and downs.
In fairness, magiging invested ang manonood sa dynamic ni Carmen and Mercury. This is one of the movie’s strong points, thanks mostly to Pokwang, na talaga namang in the zone sa kaniyang acting. The movie played up her strengths as a comedienne, although her experience in dramatic roles definitely helped as well. May mga witty lines siyang binitiwan throughout the movie na siguradong magiging quotable quotes balang araw. As the titular Mercury, Jackson plays the innocent American well enough, pero at times the role feels too big for him to handle. Marahil dala na rin ito ng characterization, na volatile ang personality: he’s sweet one minute, angry the next.
Speaking of Mercury’s personality, isa ito sa confusing na elemento ng pelikula. Medyo gets naman kung possibly bakit ganoon siya, but it could have been explored better or it could have been more seamless, kasi medyo jarring ang transitions. Then again, given how the story progressed–the movie also involved a murder, a buried treasure, and a reality show–maybe the movie as a whole is meant to be jarring and confusing. Maybe the intended audience reaction talaga is “WTF was that all about?” Some of these moments are pretty good in showing slivers of the theme na nabanggit, pero baka there could have been more consistency? It would have helped for the film to guide the viewers to get the bigger picture.
To repeat, nakatatawa ang Mercury is Mine. “It’s funny because it’s true” ang peg. Kung type mo ang mga pelikula na sumasalamin sa current state ng ating lipunan, this one’s for you. Pero be on the lookout for the moral of the story because it’s there. ♦