Panoorin ang ‘Talk Back and You’re Dead’ kung fan ka ni James Reid or ng JaDine at gusto mong maaliw sa mga eksena nila. Kung istorya ang habol mo, mas OK kung babasahin mo na lang yung libro kung saan based ang pelikulang ito. Otherwise, panoorin kung wala ka nang ibang magawa.
SYNOPSIS: Good girl Miracle Samantha “Sam” Perez crosses paths with gang leader Timothy Odelle “Top” Pendleton who then makes her his fake girlfriend. Their pretense becomes something real, but something about their past will put their relationship to a test.
GENRE: Romantic Comedy
DIRECTOR: Andoy Ranay
WRITERS: Alesana Marie (novel), Keiko Aquino (screenplay)
CAST: James Reid | Nadine Lustre | Joseph Marco | Yassi Pressman | Via Carillo | AJ Muhlach | Candy Pangilinan | Bobby Andrews | Cristopher Roxas | Jana Victoria | Coraleen Waddell | Donnalyn Bartolome | Rosalie Van Ginkel | Bret Jackson | Arkin Del Rosario | Josh Padilla | Carlo Lazerna | Kiko Ramos | King Certeza | Aki Torio | Cliff Hogan | Billy Villeta | Ryan Kevin | Clark Merced | Carissa Quintas
Adapting popular bestselling novels into the big screen is always a balancing act between pleasing the fans of the source material—most of whom will expect that a movie is faithful to the novel—and attracting the greater masses that have no clue what the film is about. One of the criticisms against these types of adaptations is that the movie did not do the literature justice. Admittedly, I have never read Talk Back and You’re Dead, but after seeing its movie version, I would have to assume that the said criticism above may also be the case.
Talk Back and You’re Dead, based on Alesana Marie’s bestselling Wattpad novel, tells a story of “little miss perfect” Miracle Samantha “Sam” Perez (Nadine Lustre) and gang leader Timothy Odelle “Top” Pendleton (James Reid). Their relationship started out as pure loathing: Sam slaps Top at a mall, not knowing who he is, in defense of one of her friends. Top promises to “kill” Sam for what she did, but instead punishes her by making her his pretend-girlfriend. Eventually they fell in love. But that doesn’t necessarily mean a happily-ever-after.
At first glance, it is a classic case of good-girl-falls-for-the-bad-boy, only more abusive because of the choice words—some of which would be considered offensive—Top sends Sam’s way (the title of the movie included). Dig deeper, though, and apparently there’s more than this that meets the eye: an eternal promise of love, amnesia, and an arranged marriage. These things figure into their relationship, each unraveled layer by layer in a series of twists in the course of 90-plus minutes.
At first glance, it is a classic case of
Dig deeper, though, and apparently
there’s more than this that meets
These twists are actually good and have put an interesting take on a love story. If told properly, one can appreciate Sam and Top’s roller-coaster relationship more. Perhaps these were narrated well in the novel, but unfortunately that was not the case in the film version. Case in point: there were explicit mentions of an accident and about something happening in the past throughout the film, but they were not explained properly until the final moments. For those who have not read the book, this is a confusing plot point. Maybe a better screenplay and editing would have fixed it. Instead, viewers are regaled with extended fight scenes and shots of gratuitous shots of Reid sans shirt.
The characters would have also pushed the story forward had they been developed more. The movie posters and trailer somewhat tease that the movie involves a love triangle. But that is not the case, and poor Joseph Marco, who plays Red, is relegated as more a sidekick instead. Sam’s and Top’s characterizations also feel one-dimensional throughout the film. Sam is supposed to be good girl striving for perfection while Top is a foul-mouthed gang leader fighting his personal demons. It would have been great if these sides of theirs were shown, not simply told. There’s actually more character development for supporting character Audrey (Yassi Pressman) than for the three leads.
This should not be taken against the actors who played them, though. Lustre and Reid make an excellent bantering duo. It is also apparent that this is Reid’s platform to establish himself as an up-and-coming actor, and he did a fairly good job in showcasing his talents that will be appreciated by his fans.
There is a scene in the movie where Sam leaves Top by helicopter. It was a good scene: slow-motion and no audible dialogue (just the sound of the rotors whirring), but you can feel the emotions of the characters just by watching. This is the kind of storytelling that the rest of the movie would have gotten benefit from. It is hoped that its sequel—as teased in the end credits—will fare better. ♦