Christopher Nolan’s latest movie Dunkirk is said to be the biggest feather in his cap, and I am not going to argue about that. If anything, his first foray into non-fiction proves that his talent goes beyond fucking the mind. He can, without any pretense, also offer an experience that does not only linger, but stays to become a part of who you are.
The discomfort and anxiety that have becomes staples in his films are still there, but so are feelings of hope, fortitude, and a ceaseless will to live. This may be Nolan at his best – in full control of his craft, showing a relentless picture of the intimacy of war even in the remotest conditions.
Maybe, this really is the best Nolan film ever made.
We are reminded that Steve Rogers did not become captain for his strength or for his fortitude, but for his ability to discern what is right from wrong.
Although Chris Evans has given us legitimate reasons to swoon over his biceps, the latest movie instalment of Marvel is not just a braggadocio movie. Captain America: Civil War has taken us into new heights as it offers us more rhetorical questions to answer while remaining true to the Marvel brand of humour and awe-inducing fight scenes any kid and adult unconsciously gape at. Its timeliness to the heated election in the United States (and in the Philippines, now that a new president is going to take over) makes us think that not all unpopular beliefs are wrong. Well, we already know that. But emphasis is not bad nowadays where people have become more stubborn.
There are movies that slowly unfurl right before your eyes.
Badil starts slow, shot in a distant place from the metro, focusing on the people who are seldom in the spotlight of nightly news. There are no dramatic dialogues, only normal exchanges among people. In this case, conversations that happen 24 hours before election day in a little province in Samar. Politicians are shown only through posters, but it doesn’t diminish their presence as their men distribute money for the people. Here’s for your grocery items, for your hospital bills, for your relative’s funeral, for your daughter’s scholarship – galing yan kay mayor. People from the grassroots are given more focus – the poor who have grown dependent from bigays, the poor who have grown accustomed to ‘mannas from heaven.’
I am a cynic when it comes to mainstream Filipino movies. I find the degustation of formulaic plots an insult to my brain. Kumbaga sa buffet, pare-parehong putahe. “Over here you’ll get a taste of love affair films, and over there you can gorge yourself to some love story based on a random lyrics from a song.” I can imagine Vilma Santos dying to open her carinderia to offer some classics.
I don’t believe Filipinos have a bland palette. We all love movies, but selections are painfully limited. Sometimes I can’t help but ask myself, do these producers really think Filipino viewers are not intelligent enough to digest deeper lines and symbolism? That we do not deserve a genre other than romance? Although Cinemalaya has been catering us films of outstanding color and depth, they are only given a specific time and season to showcase immense talents. Independent movies receive much less, not only on budget but on recognition as well.
It was like sitting through a five-hour biography of a nation. It was thorough, it was deep, it was honest. It challenges your morale, your sympathy, your philosophy even, to a certain extent. For a moment it was terrifying how a person who knows so much about ways to improve his country can do so little to improve himself and can even destroy his own character in the process. Is justice so relative? Can it really mean so much to someone only to realize it’s just an instrument to redeem himself? When you commit a crime, who can really tell what’s the price to pay? What is crime? What is punishment? What is atonement? How do we process this movie? How?