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The sights and sounds of Metro Manila no longer intrigue me. The struggles of the impoverished in this 3rd world country is a reality I deal with every single day. I only need to turn on the television or pick up the newspaper or look out the window to see and hear for myself. Therefore the story of a prostitute turned drug addict turned thief turned salvage victim is as predictable as they get. But in this movie, it served as the perfect setting for a young man's baptism of fire. Here is a carefree 20 year old boy who had just married the mother of his child; juggling university life, basketball and odd jobs for a dirty cop. His future, uncertain. His main ambition is to enter the traffic force where he truly believes rackets would be abundant. So when one night he is asked to work overtime, he unenthusiastically joins the team. It is to be a long drive and at every turn hesitance, tribulation and fear could be sensed in the boy as he is forced to become a man overnight.
I was sorely disappointed with this film.It takes about 1 hour and 20 minutes until something interesting happens, thats if you made it that far, what with the long, drawn out pointless scenes, terrible camera work and dark, badly lit shots.The fuss about this film must be about the execution of the prostitute, but that is all that really happens in this movie.I can't understand how it did so well at Cannes. There is absolutely nothing going for this film apart from the above said scene.The main actor has one expression throughout the entire film. (well, when he joins his stupid gang mates and realizes just what hes got himself into.) I really wanted to like this film, but Kinatay fails in my opinion.Whats the story? Guy witnesses gruesome murder, makes some money from it because he helps clean up the mess, and the end? Disappointing.
In Kinatay we go from everyday chaotic, but joyful everyday life and take a trip deep into its mafia controlled cynical underbelly. It is disgusting and sobering, but realistically depicted and therefore has a potential to shock people into disgust. The hope then is that this disgust can inspire a change in attitudes and ultimately fight this mafia instead of feeding it. That's far-fetched though.The movie in itself makes you feel like part of the action with hand-held cameras instead of cinematic abstractions. This is its strong point as well as what takes away some of the tension too. Some sections are just too long and dwelling. Supposedly the actions, reactions and (lack of them) can this way play around in our mind so that we build tension inside ourselves, but I ended up getting bored at times.