Suntok sa Buwan (Bianca Catbagan and Jose Antonio de Rivera, 2012) January 26, 2012Posted by Richard Bolisay in Asian Films, Noypi.
Directed by Bianca Catbagan and Jose Antonio de Rivera
Cast: Joem Bascon, Daniel Fernando, Nonie Buencamino
Less than thirty minutes through the film, the narrative of Suntok sa Buwan has already been established. By the time the two boxers have bitten the bullet, it’s already clear where the film is going: to a momentous fight that both of them need to win. Through a series of dramatic turning points, it also becomes obvious that the movie is fumbling for something to say. It stagnates and chooses only to advance for the sake of revealing details that add to its drama. It suffers from predictability, which is fine if the atmosphere is intense, but the script is unable to go places because it lacks muscle—it only manages to show off how ill-nourished it is. The thinness of the material limits the characters, disabling them to breathe and travel far, and boxes them in a claustrophobic yet unexciting environment. The shots inside the ring are handled with skill but with little imagination—the characters move, but the entire sequence isn’t kinetic. Watching it is like sitting by the window and staring at a beautiful view that never changes. The scenery is lovely to look at, but it also tires the spectator sooner or later. Directors Bianca Catbagan and Jose Antonio de Rivera have fallen in love excessively with their subject and failed to recognize its rarely touched areas, which is hardly a question of depth and originality but of misguided decisions, of disregard for risks, and of not being able to deliver punches that hurt more inside than out. Their film teems with foolhardy youth: too much bokeh but too little flesh to feast on.