Film Review - A Thief, A Kid & A Killer
"a lie is not necessarily good or bad. It's how you use it..."
Remember when you had to stand in front of the class on any given school day and give a life story about the past week or the week ahead? Well it's Maximos' turn and his story will leave your eyes wide open and jaw hitting the ground in disbelief.
Maximo and his mum are struggling with a recently family tragedy, which has been affecting his performance at school and his mum having to work longer hours. So, when he arrives home and finds someone in his bedroom, who is equally surprised to find someone in the room, alarm bells start ringing in each others head, whilst they try to work out what to do. Max (Arvy Cesar Viduya) is roughly 9 and has come from school, Nico (Felix Roco - Clash, The Tapes) on the other hand is a fugitive, on the run with his cousin and partner in crime, after a jewellery heist didn't go as planned, and two corrupt cops are on the hunt for their share of the loot.
At its core, it's a funny and charming film with a developing bond between 'the thief' and 'the kid'. The thief is from the improvised slums of Tondo and like most in his situation, just wants a better life, away from the cruel trappings of poverty, crime and drugs. The kid, has led a comfortable life up until now is heading for life in the slums. As Nico points out '...it sucks waking up at 6am to dig through peoples filthy trash to collect tin cans...its gonna be harder on you, because you started with money.' So there is a strong sense of sympathy and self-reflection, knowing the difference between realities, holding out in a living complex with hot water and electricity, even going to school with clean clothes, contrast to the lack of opportunities for any kid growing up in the slums, unless you want to end up in Nicos' position; scavenging his surrounds looking for a way out.
It's at this point we are introduced to Lloyd (Jeffrey Quizon - Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral), who like his cousin Nico is also looking for a better life, but drugs and police corruption are holding him back. Leaving him between a rock and a hard place.
Although the film stays some what light, Lloyds presence does give the movie a slightly darker shift, as we get more into the complexities of the double-crossing, blackmail, police corruption and the undercurrents of emotions, which drives each of the adult men in the film to do what they to; love, jealousy, greed and power. In fact, it would be fair to say, even Max finds a sense of peace and guidance through his interactions with Nico, despite being held as a hostage.
The overall story is really good, with some funny comedy moments, like when Nico gets in trouble and Lloyd has to get him out of situations, or when the cops think about what they will do with their share of money, so it's an easy and entertaining watch. The color grading helps too, as scenes really 'pop' out of the screen vibrantly. However, I would say its man downfall is the score. The opening title music is cheesy Sum 41 style pop punk, which gave me doubts about how good the film might be, but in reality that's a very minor and personal issue and it doesn't continue throughout, although the rest of films score doesn't seem to fit the overall tone of scenes or the film in general, which is a pity.
Director: Nathan Adolfson
Cast: Felix Roco, Jeffrey Quizon, Arvy Cesar Viduya
Language: Tagalog and English
Genre: Crime comedy
Available to stream on the Terracotta's VOD