THEIR DREAM BINDS THEM. THEIR HEARTS TEAR THEM APART. Raffy and Andrew were orphaned as kids and had only each other to depend on. Raffy has spent the last nine years of his life working in...
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THEIR DREAM BINDS THEM. THEIR HEARTS TEAR THEM APART. Raffy and Andrew were orphaned as kids and had only each other to depend on. Raffy has spent the last nine years of his life working in Dubai. His ultimate goal is to fulfill a lifelong dream: to eventually move to Canada with his younger brother, Andrew. The Alvarez brothers are finally united when Andrew goes to Dubai. In Dubai, Andrew meets Faye, one of Raffy's many girlfriends. They hit it off well despite of their age difference. She becomes his guide, comfort and lover. Seeing the two together Raffy realizes that he still loves Faye. When Andrew discovers that Raffy still loves Faye, conflict arises between the brothers, almost severing the ties that bind them. In the end, what they choose and achieve are not as planned. But their experiences in Dubai lead to new beginnings in their lives Written by
"Dubai" is the latest movie of Star Cinema, the film outfit of one of the two leading television networks here in the Philippines; hence, expect it to be very much hyped. Expect no less than A-list Filipino stars and high-profile personalities to be asked after watching a premiere about their comments, nay, praises for the film. Yes, this movie has a lot of glamor going on for it as is always the case with its predecessors, but in more ways it doesn't deliver.
Aga Muhlach plays Raffy, an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) living in Dubai, United Arab of Emirates (UAE), and we first see him driving a pickup truck across the desert while singing along an Eraserheads song. John Lloyd Cruz is Raffy's younger brother Andrew, whom he sees after nine years. After financially supporting Andrew for some time, Raffy summons his brother there to get work and get to fulfill his dreams. You see, they grew up orphaned, had plans of migrating to Canada and sees Dubai as their ticket there. But things get awry as Andrew falls in love with fellow OFW Faye (Claudine Barretto), who turns out to be Raffy's ex-girlfriend. It seems that Raffy and Faye are still in love with each other.
To tell the truth, the film's Middle Eastern location seemed more of a ploy to feature something else other than Manila. The studio bigwigs maybe were thinking, "The OFW-driven theme worked in 'Milan,' let's do it somewhere else!" But what worked in Italy didn't work out here. Firstly, director Rory Quintos seems to drag this whole movie. Granted, slow-paced movies aren't necessarily bad, but it has to be thoughtful and should convey the slow passage of time. But "Dubai" just seems to drag on forever.
What's worse is, the film stumbles upon trying to find its identity. What exactly is this movie all about? The obvious reference would be "Milan," where the daily lives of OFWs are featured as a background to a love story. But other than hint at obvious aspects of living abroad, the issues of Filipino immigrants aren't clearly tackled. If this film, though, is all about the love story between the two brothers and a woman, why spend all that money going to Dubai, and not just film in, say, Bohol, where the scenery is also great and could've even helped the local tourism industry? But then again, the romantic side of the film isn't one of the great things here.
The script is generic (although it would be churlish to fault co-scriptwriter Ricky Lee considering that he pens MOST of the local films nowadays so it's possible he's over-stretching himself), but eventually what matters is whether it all hangs together; whether we care if these people get together or are they worth rooting for. Here, it's hard to see how anyone could care about Muhlach's character. His great love for his brother doesn't justify his reasons for being a heart-breaker. In fact, the script just seemed to completely convert his character to take the easy way out. Cruz and Barretto don't come off as convincing and there is zero chemistry between the pair, so it's hard to feel for them, much less feel the dilemma of a love triangle.
Of course there are bright points. The acting, particularly by Muhlach, is great. Barretto does a decent job, although I feel she seems uninspired here and has done better in her previous outings. Cruz can be a good actor in less serious films but here, he pales in comparison with the more seasoned leads. Nevertheless, he manages to hold his own.
The cinematography and sound design in my opinion perfectly captures Dubai, with the juxtapositions of colors and music that are used to portray this part of the United Arab Emirates perfectly in accordance with the enamor shared by the main actors.
But in the end, the actors and the scenery can't save this film. The script needs more depth and background to make the audience rooting for its characters. While "Milan" felt like a good film with a nice social commentary, "Dubai" only looks and feels costly, but never really gets to that point to make it a true wonder.
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