Last night I was lucky to attend the screening of Saturday Night Chills that offers a question and answer portion after with the director. Normally, I’d be very much excited on asking the cast (ok I admit, mere seeing them would make me giddy) but shooting questions to the director himself seems a pretty nice deal, so I went ahead and convinced my friend to give it a chance. A few minutes into the film, I was on the brink of walking out of the cinema but the Q&A portion was too interesting to pass up so I endured and we stayed.
The film follows the life of three guys: Jeff, Mark, and John. Together, these three live a routinary life of gambling, clubbing, smoking, and prostitution. One day they bump into Brian, their former classmate who later on encouraged them to join in the underground betting business. Determined to have a new direction in life, the trio accepts Brian’s offer and their path immediately sprung upwards but eventually landed flat out.
The main plot took so long to develop due to the establishment of the wasted lives these three are living. But although this is the case, there’s no denying that the core of the film is a certain lifestyle that these trio possess and their bond that at times troubling especially with Matteo Guidicelli’s character who’s willing to leave a friend behind the bars just to have peace of mind.
It is refreshing to see the main leads portray roles different from their usual boy next door. They still look good though, only their actions state otherwise. At times, they appear counterproductive especially with the kissing scenes in the start that looks obviously fake but they were effective at being aimless youth, nonetheless.
Joseph Marco plays as Jeff, a Chinese bum who depends on his family’s wealth. He has a cringe-worthy dining scene with his family as it feels forced. Acting between Jeff and his father is terribly awkward more so because of the Chinese father’s acting. Then there’s Rayver Cruz as Mark. He works at his father’s business in Chinatown. On the confrontational scene with his womanizing father, Cruz handled it gracefully well as compared to his father who cursed endlessly just to show anger. I was actually expecting that Cruz would curse his father and at the same time, wishing he won’t as it is a sign of disrespect. Gladly, my wish came true -respect for parents still intact. Meanwhile, Matteo takes the role of John, a fluent English speaking call center agent who can’t pronounce straight Tagalog words. At first it was a bit offset to hear Guidicelli’s Tagalog diction due to his Visayan accent but this has been justified later on in the film. What come off as first irritating eventually find its way to become entertaining as Guidicelli became the source of laughter -one rare emotion I thankfully find in the midst of cussing and fighting scenes in the film. And lastly, there’s David Chua as Brian who did a good acting job here, even more effective than 2/3 of the leads. He’s got the angst, the attitude, and the yabang. He’s a believable asshole here.
The script, or the lack thereof, consists a lot of cussing. It is pure adlib, as emphasized by Director Ian Loreños himself. When they proposed the storyline to Cinema One, they didn’t include a script. Honestly, I am open to a few curse words in a film to add a touch of realism and kick but for it to be entirely about it, it felt like hearing an irritating screech sound again and again. Here we can see that actors’ total independence from the director and script can be two things: extremely good or excruciatingly bad. The actors wanted to be bad boys here, so they were like: okay we should do a lot of cussing since it’s more realistic! Heck it could even give us awards!
I know it is unfair to judge a film merely by its dialogue but it is fair to judge a film by the belief that storytelling can happen not only through cussing. Maybe their goal was to make an impact by doing a lot of profanity but I don’t find the film satisfying as they could have gone deeper into the plot but they sticked with the verisimilitude portrayal of these three.
Saturday Night Chills is a film I intend to watch mainly because of its actors and it proved me right. It is a film that is only better after hearing the alternate ending but it doesn’t make it any level greater than the original. It’s just more acceptable and more likable as it’s a comeuppance ending.
Watch the trailer HERE.
Saturday Night Chills is a part of the CinemaOne Originals 2013 – Currents category -which runs exclusively at Glorietta, Robinsons, and Trinoma from Nov. 11-19.