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Toompere Jr. jr Hendrik
An impoverished single parent, Robert Lim (Jericho Rosales) spends his free time with his young son Brian (Bugoy Carino), turning his back just for a minute, he loses the little boy. Surveillance videos reveal the child being led away by an older man. The father's anguished search begins. When the police fail to locate his child, he plows through the back streets of Manila, unearthing the dark facets of human trafficking, determined to find his son at all costs. Written by
"Alagwa" is a word I have never heard of before. I had no idea what this indie film is all about. However its reputation precedes it as a winner in various award-giving bodies before, both here and abroad, as a winner as Best Picture and Best Actor for star Jericho Rosales. This is definitely a must-watch film.
Robert Lim is a financially-strapped, harassed single dad to his young son Brian. When his beloved son apparently gets kidnapped in a mall one day, Robert never stopped looking for him, even if this quest led him straight to the dark sinister underbelly of Chinatown, into the lair of a child-smuggling syndicate. Will father ever get reunited with his son?
Jericho Rosales does not look a bit like a Chinese guy or mestizo as his family name would indicate, but boy, he really acts up a storm in this film as the exasperated and desperate father. As a father myself to a boys of Brian's age, I really felt everything he is feeling and definitely hit no false notes in his flawless performance. You can really feel an emotional connection with his character.
Bugoy Carino is really a very charming and natural actor as the mischievous Brian. His chemistry with Rosales was so effortless, which really made his disappearance midway in the film more painful to watch. Leo Martinez plays a police chief who vowed to help Robert but whose assistance may have done more harm that good. Smokey Manaloto plays a pimp who was Robert's entry ticket into the underworld. It was good to see the beautiful Singaporean actress Ms. Carmen Soo as the daughter of Robert's boss and Brian's godmother sympathetic to Robert's plight.
Overall, this movie is all about Jericho's performance. His acting definitely definitely rose above the script which was limited by too many convenient and contrived coincidences to be truly realistic. The seemingly meaningless scenes showing Robert roaming the streets of Hong Kong which interrupt the main story being told will gain its significance eventually. The frightfully chilling view inside that disgusting child trafficking syndicate was the visceral punch of the film, and Jericho's reaction is our reaction.
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