MMFF 2013: 10000 Hours

20140104-015133.jpg“Ang tagal kong pinagsilbihan ang gobyerno…”
“Bayan ang pagsilbihan mo.”
“Magkaiba ba ‘yun?”

It is hard to believe that a man who is ridiculously good looking, physically fit, and brave enough to do the right thing for his countrymen exists at this time and age and as for the film 10000 hours‘ case, it does, but only in a fictional world.

Though verily inspired by real life Philippine senator Panfilo Lacson’s fugitive days way back 2010, 10000 hours audience must be cautious to differ reality from fiction as Lacson never divulged any detail about his escape nor the state of his family while he was away.

The movie tells the story of Senator Gabriel Alcaraz (Robin Padilla) who is about to reveal the people behind the pork barrel scams. On his way to give his privilege speech, a murder on an NBI director ensues and he’s been framed up, causing him to run away from the government. This starts the numeral titular which counts his time in hiding.

From a technical standpoint, cinematography and shifting of scenes from action to a heightened drama were flawless. To describe the film as pure action is a misconception as it’s composed heavily of drama that is neither melancholic or over the top. The ensemble delivered topnotch acting, led by Robin Padilla who graces the scene without his rough persona but with a stature of a man of dignity and honor. Alongside him was Mylene Dizon as his supportive wife who shone bright in a scene where she bursts down crying on a balcony and gets an apparent epilepsy attack. Another involves Cholo Barreto, the eldest son of Mylene and Robin, who is physically trying to stand still but attempts to regain internal balance as the family seem to be falling apart. Barreto’s scene with Mylene bears emotional weight which he did carry reasonably. Pen Medina is well deserving of the best supporting award as he gradually shifts from an angsty ally to a nostalgic and loving father who can only quip “Gago ka, parekoy, tang *na ka” repeatedly to Padilla’s character. That scene is truly heartbreaking in every essence of the word. Ketchup Eusebio also highlights every scene he’s into as he injects humor to the film.

Although there were imperfections such as glaring lens reflection nor Antonio Aquitania’s character not getting old while everyone is, these are forgivable since as a whole, the story remains strong. It tackles a wide range of topics from kidnapping, extortion, up to the most heated topic nowadays — pork barrel.

Media influence was also apparent in the film. Maya Limchauco (Bela Padilla) is a reporter who is willing to do anything, even leave her fieldwork, just to get the story she needs. She starts to become manipulative and privy at some point but she’s also instinctive at best. As a backup on one of her assignments, her cameraman Jerome (Ketchup Eusebio) takes her place as a reporter and delivers a nervous and confused reportage seemingly reminiscent of Michael Fajatin.

The pacing of the movie is gripping and at times breathtaking. Despite the timer located on the lower right screen, the movie doesn’t feel dragging nor too fast, thanks to Joyce Bernal’s directorial skills.

At first I was really doubtful as to how a director famous for her blockbuster romcom movies can pull off an action-themed movie but in 10000 hours, it worked. It is possibly due to the bond she has with Robin Padilla that had been built over the years of creating projects together but one thing’s for sure: whether it be romcom or action, Bernal will surely deliver a quality output every Filipino can be proud of.

Overall, the film is a believable tale that ends with a note that justice, no matter how tiring or life threatening it may be, must still be pursued.

Rating: 9/10

Watch the trailer HERE.

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