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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Flick Review: The Trial

10/26/2014 10:52:33 AM

Warning: some parts of this article could spoil your ass off.

It’s been a long while since I last dug a couch and watch a film that is not really my type: heavy drama, especially the family-catered ones. Considering these: the last time perhaps I hit a drama-related flick was Sean Ellis’ Metro Manila; but if we’re really talking about the movie for the family here, it was 1996 (then a Kinder 2 student) when I saw Ama, Ina, Anak at that Ali Mall cinema in Cubao. The Jose Javier Reyes-directed flick stars Edu Manzano, Maricel Soriano, and Angelica Panganiban.

Since then, we can only afford to see more romance-driven pictures from ABS-CBN’s film firm with the exception for the following: Tanging Yaman and Anak.

Ironically though after 18 years, I saw another Star Cinema drama product titled The Trial (and yes, in cinemas again).  

Talk about a mentally-challenged 27-year old Ronald Jimenez (portrayed by John Lloyd Cruz) facing a trial after allegedly raping her teacher Bessy Buenaventura (Jessy Mendiola), with broad complex plot obstacles in the process, including Ronald’s family background, his connection with a late young advocate, Bessy’s relationship , and her school’s reputation.
Now, at least you know how far a “process of judgment” can go. Yes, even way beyond issues, personalities and overall environment.

At first, I could have thought of watching this movie a few days earlier only if my well-being cooperated enough. But finally, last Saturday evening, I got a fat chance to steal one. And after seeing the 130 minuter, I wasn’t disappointed at all despite having a huge burden during that stretch.

If I have to be technical here, maybe it would fall more on the moviehouse’s part than the moviemakers, as Ronald narrates at the first few minutes to the story, some names displayed in the very left and right portions of the opening credits didn’t fit the screen.

Other than that would go for the project itself; like some scenes didn’t have much headroom, while they used too many flashback devices, Jessy Mendiola’s ‘limited’ exposure and a certain scene in courtroom having an off-timing to focus on Ronald. But whatever these flaws have, the story’s impact backed them up. Besides, one can argue: “that’s art right there.”

With the exception for Mendiola though. Also, I was puzzled on how Bessy’s life roll after walking out of the court and hearing the decision. But I guess that’s how the story should roll.

I could not say that John Lloyd Cruz had the capability to join the ranks of those insane protagonists (like Gerald Anderson in Budoy), and thus a different mentally-disabled dude. Considering him a victim of bullying and at the same time had a very high capability to wreak havoc to anyone who dared to misinterpret him; plus, superb intellectual memory.

One thing’s for sure though is that he’s way different from what he usually seen as a lover boy.

However, Gretchen Barretto, amidst off-cam controversies including the family feud, was nothing but a goddess-looking and lauded vet for showing no remorse on others in some scenes of the story, something I appreciated the most. Hey, mind you, it’s tough to act such type, considering most women used to convey emotions at times.

But on the other side, It’s also tough to deal with two parties, on which side are you on? ‘Cause at first, Amanda Bien (Barretto) was supposed to be on Bessy and her aunt (Vivian Velez); but as the flow thickens, Amanda realized Ronald’s connection with his departed son Martin (Enrique Gil) matters the most.

As for Richard Gomez, whose already known for donning the attorney chores on that defunct Your Honor, well... it’s like a resemblance. He’s the usual alpha male who can do various jobs in a movie, be it a pro, anta or just supporting cast. And Julian was indeed the male counterpart of Amanda in terms of persona.

Honestly I never saw Vince de Jesus act before, but I think his tandem with Sylvia Sanchez as the gay-lesbian tandem-slash-Ronald’s parents clicked enough, though some of his punch lines falter with the gravity of some scenes.

There’s no question on the performances by seasoned vets Joy Viado, Mon Confiado, as well as Velez and Isay Alvarez, the lawyer of Bessy’s camp.

However, I had no comment on Paco (Benjamin Alves) though I think he had a limited exposure too. And maybe, his altercation scene with Ronald did not really sit well for me, but that and another touch in the story.

Like I said earlier, The Trial’s plot has a lot of sub-plots and perhaps I wondered at one point: how on earth do they interject with each other? Take a snip: you have Ronald’s mental capability, the advent of technology, the usual masa environment, homosexual elements, typical corporate set-up (something which involves Bessy's aunt and the stockholders of her school), conflicts between parents and children, and martyrdom in romantic partners showcased right there.

In addition, some references are used such as the Budoy role, rape jokes, and present sex scandal trend, to name a few.

Is there anything we can learn from this movie? A lot in fact, including the impacts of new media, and overall, the never-ending trial of publicity.

Overall, this movie was not just a mind-fuck unlike those melodramatic-yet-society-setting pictures like Metro Manila and even On The Job. It also pierced my heart like shit as well.

Some may even argue: this looked like a copycat from Miracle in Cell #7 albeit no child participation on this one. But to be honest, I have yet to see the latter.

Moreover, it slapped me back and proved me wrong like “like hey, we’re more than just providing rom-coms here, kid.” So I applaud Star Cinema for an excellent project there.

Now, if they can do a lot of melodrama instead of extending squeezes into teleseryes? That would be better.
Well, Direk Chito S. Roño, after all, is Direk Chito Roño. He had a lot of quality-calibrated programs under his name.

I hate to say this but, “HOLY SHIT! THAT WAS HEAVY!” Both literally and figuratively. I remembered uttering these words one scene after another. And despite some light moments, you just can’t outweigh the fact that The Trial was made for heavyweight dramatics without pun intended.

Oh, wait, I’ll add another adjective—that was also a “tear jerker.” I never had a tear drop on any of drama flicks, but The Trail? Heck, I may never cried as if I lost somebody to death, but still that made me drop a tear from my eye.

So I have to praise the screenplay writers of this movie, especially the guy who conceptualized this picture, veteran screenwriter Ricky Lee. 

Special thanks to anyone who told me The Trial is a must watch. Yes, you guys were goddamn right.

The verdict: 9.7

Author: slickmaster | ©2014 september twenty-eight productions

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  1. After reading your review, it does give justice to the netizens comments about ohn Llloyd not being there yet when it comes to portraying someone with mental disability. Nonetheless, the movie sounds good.

    1. It does, but give him a break, too. I consider such roles one of the most different type of roles.

      It was really a good movie.

  2. I actually wanted to see the film but the anticipation of it being a heavy drama/ tear jerker makes me back off. Saka na lang :)

  3. never watch this movie so far! hope this coming holiday might watch this?


  4. Replies
    1. It's a must, dear. I'm telling that straight on you.

  5. I wanted to see this movie (been a while since I see a Filipino film) so thank you for the honest review of the movie. I think John Lloyd is one of the best new actors today.

  6. I'm not a fan of drama, but I like how John Lloyd Cruz portray every role na ipagawa sa kanya. Nice movie review anyway. :)

    1. Well, John Lloyd Cruz is John Lloyd Cruz, from name to talent. That's why. Thanks!

  7. I'm a movie person but I usually watch foreign movies. I always so this on tv and its trailer. I can say its good plus you give me idea to the story. Heavy drama means more tears. Gonna watxh this.

    1. Well, if you're a fan of drama (unlike yours truly), I'm actually betting my money, saying it is a must-watch Filipino movie of the year.

      Of course there's a pun intended on that bet thing. LOL!

  8. Pardon me for just scrolling down the page because I haven't seen the movie yet. I'm not sure if it's still showing but I'm planning to watch it this week. I'm expecting John Lloyd's acting to be exceptional in this movie. :)

    1. Well, I think it's still up in cinemas. For me, despite the flaws, he's still one of the standouts for this flick. Siya, saka si Goma (well in my opinion lang ha?) ang nagdala eh.

  9. I haven't seen this movie yet. But from the trailer alone, it really does look like a tearjerker. Very heavy movie. Glad you liked it!

    1. Same observation on that trailer, actually. And for me, it's been a long while since I have seen such a gravitated drama like this.

  10. Trying to watch this movie and your review I think, gives totally the plot with some sub-plots. Filipino film has tendency to be melodrama and entirely on Pinoy standard of living.


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