I was fortunate enough to catch the screening of Graceland yesterday during the last day of the Cinema One Originals Film Festival at Robinson’s Galleria. After all, it was a hit and received good reviews during its run at the Tribeca Film Festival earlier this year.
Marlon Villar (Arnold Reyes) has been working for a long time now as a driver for corrupt politician Manuel Changco (Menggie Cobarubbias). When news broke out of a 12 year old girl being sexually assaulted by Congressman Changco, a kidnapping incident gone wrong ensues when kidnappers took Marlon’s daughter instead of the politician’s, and the lives of Marlon, Manuel, and the people around them entangled as secrets were revealed one after the other.
The first thing I noticed was how quick the movie was. Running at 80 minutes (credits excluded), there’s a lot to digest here. With that said, that also serves as one of the strengths of the film. Everything was fast paced, and there’s nothing left for you to do but join Marlon’s journey. A lot has already happened during the first twenty minutes of the movie, and it sets the pace of how the rest of the film will be. Primarily, that worked well on its advantage.
The darkness of the movie is something that clings me to it. From my perspective, there’s no perfect person here. Each one of them showed flaws as human beings, and they’re all left facing the options (and sometimes, lack thereof) to discover what’s next for them. It’s all about options. What do you do when you have many options to choose from? What do you do when there’s only a single option? What do you do when there’s none?
Arnold Reyes carried the film on his shoulders, and he delivered beyond expectations. His performance as the driver Marlon is one for the books. He portrayed him with such vulnerability that it leads you to being engaged with his decisions, actions, and even his optimism. Menggie Cobarubbias as the corrupt politician started as typical, but mid-way, he puts more depth in this character giving him moments to shine in the film. Despite being limited with what she’s asked to do, Ella Guevarra, as the daughter of Marlon, was also memorable here.
In entirety, Ron Morales’ managed to convey his vision with this movie, and his direction led to its success. As a gripping thriller, it works well in holding the audience and showing them the nitty gritty. While I don’t think anybody wants to be in the foot of Marlon in the movie, it was engaging to let the audience take a whole peek at the whole scene.