Joel Lamangan is a Filipino film director who has been very successful in consistently disappointing me with his works. I have seen a couple of his movies but seeing his latest one made me conclude that it would take me a great deal of convincing to watch his future works.
Lamangan’s latest movie is entitled, Hustisya. It stars the great Nora Aunor. This film is an entry in the on-going Cinemalaya film festival. Unfortunately, for my taste the 2-hour film, Hustisya, is a big disappointment. Because I was so bored in the first few minutes of the movie, I kept on looking at my watch. And to my surprise the first disenchanting 35 minutes of the movie was nothing but seeing Aunor walking within the rundown streets of Manila.
For me, the movie’s core and story can easily be told in less than 45 minutes. It ran for 2 hours because Lamangan inserted unnecessary footages of the sorry-looking and sordid spots of the City of Manila with the aim of putting socio-political connotations for the film.
For me, Lamangan is nothing but an inferior imitator of the genius Filipino film director Lino Brocka. The latter’s work contains heaps of socio-political implications and undertones which would hit directly into your being. Lamangan’s representation of socio-political issues on the other hand seem nothing but superficial.
Because of the footages inserted in the film and the secondary scenes placed in the movie (like the anti-government rally that suddenly came out from nowhere; the pickpocket scene inside a train; or, the stabbing murder scene along a dodgy street), which has nothing to do with the story has failed to touch a nerve. His depiction of social ills and government-political inadequacies looks artificially pilit (forced).
Lamangan must thank the heavens for Aunor who agreed to be in the film. She is the sole saving grace of this movie. And I cannot imagine how the film would look like or what the film would have become if it was not for the great Aunor who stars in it. Without Nora, this movie could easily be considered a non-worthy entry in this year’s highly prestigious Director’s Showcase category of Cinemalaya festival.
Jusko, epik peyl naman ‘tong si Manong.