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Face of Violence and Gore: Mendoza's Kinatay Movie review

Violent and Merciless.  This is how critics define Film Director Brillante Mendoza's film Kinatay.  The first time the news of Mendoza's triumphant success on getting the best Director title in 62nd Cannes Film Festival exploded to the interwebs, I already became very curious about the film.  But because of some reviews telling the level of violence and gore of the film, I became reluctant on seeing it.

But last week, a friend gave me a passes to a special screening of the film.  She said she can't watch this kind of films so since she knew that I love watching movies, she gave the tickets to me for me to witness the film once and for all.

First of all Kinatay's premise is simple.  Showing a typical filipino society.  The movie tells a story of a man who struggles to have a good life with his wife despite the difficulties they need to resolve everyday including their early marriage.  But in his journey to look for ways to live their every day, he got tangled to a crime that will definitely change his ideals and perception in life.  The plot is simple and linear.  Don't expect for twists for you will be disappointed and for those who are non critical, you may find yourselves yawning on some parts of the movie.  I like the imagery used on the film and some hidden messages on some scenes.  One example is the Coco Martin's choice between a Bus and a Car (Van and a Cab).  You may consider them as ordinary scenes but if you analyze them it tells the character's deepest thoughts and choices.  On the other hand I find the Gore and Violence so ordinary and not what I expect on this film.  I expect a more graphic approach like the one shown on most gore oriented flicks like SAW and HOSTEL.  Mendoza explained that he doesn't really want to focus on the graphic side but more on the story and the emotions shown by the main protagonist.

The performance of the actors are all commendable specially Coco Martin.  Coco Martin shows everyone that you don't need a lot of dialogues to act and show emotions.  His facial expressions are enough to show what the character feels and thinks.  And despite the minimal lines, Coco Martin still grabbed the attentions of everyone in the cinema.  John Regala's performance is also applaudable.  He is the perfect epitome of a bad guy on screen.  He can bad mouth on screen so naturally that adds to the intensity of every sequence. Contrast to Martin's minimal dialogues, Regala has a mouth full set of lines thrown every scene. 

Cinematography on the other hand utilizes a more alternative approach,  Shaky cams, blurred visions and minimal lights are used to show a natural spectator feel putting all audience on a real time experience on every shot.

To sum it up, Kinatay is a perfect showcase of good acting and alternative cinematography pleasure.  Despite the simple story, behind it is a complex issue on society and individual choices.  Beyond the violence and gore, Kinatay is a piece of art that we Filipinos can all be proud of .  Watch this film and discover the ugly truth of life behind every beautiful facade.

Special thanks to Millet Arzaga for the tickets.


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