An aspiring painter and a frustrated musician meet and become instant friends, but decide to end and leave everything as is, just like complete strangers. What will happen if they meet again as two completely different people?
I only had a fleeting glimpse of a TV ad of "10,000 Hours" and those few seconds were enough to convince that I had to watch this film. The quality of the cinematography was unlike anything I had seen before.
Philippine Senator Gabriel Molino Alcaraz (Robin Padilla) is about to spill the beans on a pork barrel scam that reaches all the way to the office of President Genoviva Martinez Obrero (Bibeth Orteza). Instead, he gets implicated in the murder of an NBI director who was his friend.
As his warrant of arrest was being served, Alcaraz was able to elude authorities led by Gen. Dante Cristobal (Michael de Mesa) with the help of an aggressive news reporter Maya Limchauco (Bela Padilla), finding his way to Amsterdam to search for a long-lost witness Salvador Jago (Pen Medina) who could clear his name.
Back in the country though, his wife Anna (Mylene Dizon) and children (Cholo Barreto, Winwyn Marquez, Markki Stroem) bear the consequential backlash of his controversial escape. The title "10,000 Hours" refers to the number of hours Alcaraz was on the lam.
The plot was obviously inspired by recent real-life political events. However, the film ends with a statement that the events depicted in the film are entirely fictional.
Robin Padilla was entirely in his element as the lawmaker on the run from the law. His acting here was very subdued as the entire treatment of the film required. We see a different Robin here as he shucks his trademark denims for smart winter wear, and he sports a fresh demeanor free from his old acting tics. His execution of the action scenes were skilled and realistic. Robin dominates this film with his unfading screen presence and charisma.
The other members of the cast do very well in their supporting roles. Standing out were Mylene Dizon as the brave wife who later reaches her breaking point, Cholo Barreto as the eldest son Benjo who had to bear the brunt of the family shame, Carla Humphries as the Amsterdam contact Isabelle, Michael de Mesa as the old friend turned pursuer, and Pen Medina as the former police asset turned vital witness.
Bela Padilla plays the lady reporter Maya, who had her own ulterior motives for helping the senator. I felt she was the weaker link in the cast because she was not able to project credibility as her character, especially after the incredible stunt she pulled towards the end. Maybe an actress a little older could have tackled this role better. Her interaction with her goofy cameraman Jerome (Ketchup Eusebio) could have been better.
I felt "10,000 Hours" was a very well-crafted Filipino film of a quality that is rarely seen. The technical aspect was flawless, impressively by an almost all-female behind-the-scenes crew. The screenplay written by Ryllah Epifania Berico and Keiko Aquino was practically perfect as it neatly told a story that spanned four decades interconnecting multiple generations of characters.
The imported-looking photography of the film by Marissa Floreindo was resplendent, both in the local and the Amsterdam locations. The film editing by Marya Ignacio was exciting and tense. The music by Teresa Barrozo added much to the suspenseful atmosphere of the film. Director Bb. Joyce Bernal assuredly assembles and delivers to us a final product that elevates her craft above all the rom-coms she is more known for.
It fully deserves the A-rating given by the Film Evaluation Board. I wish more people would watch movies like this, so that more of them could be made. 9/10.
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