Before Maria Isabel Lopez took the role of Madonna, she had to ask permission from her two children and husband. Like Rosanna Roces who had rejected the movie, Maria Isabel was initially hesitant to accept the role since it required nudity. Her husband and children agreed with certain condition, thus she accepted the role. See more »
This movie was shown almost simultaneously at two film festivals in my country, and advertised as a horror flick. I must say that I saw it more as a thriller/drama, but I admit that I was, at times, nervous, jumpy, and even disgusted (I'm a bit perplexed by my reaction, considering that I didn't find anything too disturbing about "Antichrist", for example). I almost wish it could pass off as a horror film, because it sends a powerful message: when it all boils down, there's nothing scarier than the reality we live in, and the terrible things humans can do to each other.
It's story is told in a very realistic manner. The plot slowly progresses from everyday Manila life, where we see the brightly colored face of the city, with young and old in the streets, going about their business, to the ominous night and the twisted reality it brings. The director uses the darkness as the ultimate mood-setter, and the dragged-out sequences gradually warn us of things to come. As the first reviewer of "Kinatay" noted, the sound plays a major role in the film.
Without giving away anything, I can say that there are no big plot twists (if any), and the outcome of the movie is sobering in it's brutal realism. This might be a negative point for some, because they will probably not get what they expected; not only because of the absence of a "happy end", but also because of the lack of diverse content trough out a major portion of the movie. My own pet peeve is that, even though Coco Martin has played his role as good as he could have, the "shocked rookie in way over his head" character is a bit of a cliché, and in retrospect, it feels a bit overused, but again, not as much as in many other movies.
Ultimately, this is a good piece of cinematography. It makes it's goal clear, and it's presentation is flawless, for the most part. It definitely does not deserve all the bad reviews it's been getting. A man who gives "Avatar" a rave review (I'm looking at you, Ebert), should think twice before calling something "the worst movie at Cannes".
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