AFTER having seen two well-made — but hardly outstanding — festival entries (PAGPAG and 10,000 HOURS), I was pleasantly surprised at how BOY GOLDEN was head and shoulders above the said two, and most of the Filipino films I have
watched lately, for that matter.
The opening scene alone, including the long, tracking shot of the lead driving down a neon-lit city block to a cabaret, is well worth the price of admission. And did I mention that the street is a faithful recreation
of a strip of a red light district in the 50’s? The movie starts with a bang, literally, and segues effortlessly into the opening credits wallpapered with a choreographed cabaret dance, which gives you a taste of things to come. The movie is a visual feast. Through the creative use of lighting and innovative camera angling, the movie projects a warmth of temperature
and a refinement of texture not usually seen in local movies. Its stylized scenes, surrealism and precision-choreographed right scenes appear to be homages to John Woo, but with a touch unique to its director, Chito Roño. The production design is picture perfect, no mean feat considering that the production designer had to recreate the look and feel of the 1950’s, from big objects such as cars and architecture, to the smaller details such as wardrobe, fashion accessories, firearms, furniture, and other minutiae. Even the colloquialisms used in the dialogue have been well-researched to make the period-correct, an attention to detail that earns the movie extra points. The ultimate gun battle inside an ice plant, far from being random,
underscores the film being a period piece: ice plants are practically extinct in this day and age of two-door refrigerator-freezers and tube ice. The cast made sure all the work that went into production were not wasted. KC Concepcion should earn new respect
for the way she attacked her role as the titular character’s moll. Her hard-edged portrayal of a cabaret dancer who vows revenge after having been wronged by the protagonist, was masterful and sublime, although her proficiency in unarmed combat was
not explained at all in the film. Concepcion, in her Betty Boop inspired persona, was sensuous and tough at the same time.
She also acquits herself well in the fight scenes. John Estrada gave a controlled performance as the main villain, even giving us a glimpse of his character’s humanity at rye proper time; and his sidekick was played by Baron Geisler with typical
competence. Veteran Eddie Garcia showed once again the secret of his longevity in the business with his spot-on reading of the devious yet principled lawyer for Golden. Dick Israel gave the movie a short yet important support as an aging, paraplegic gangster who has accepted the fact that the old ways are over and who resignedly meets his death in the hands of Boy Golden, again proving the “no-small-roles-only-small-actors” cliche. Special mention must be made of Gloria Sevilla, as a female gangster who is tough as nails on the outside, but mushy on the inside, who harbors long-nurtured feelings for Boy GOLDEN’s lawyer. And what of Ejercito? Admittedly, he does not exude the same kind of charisma and elan that Padilla did in 10000 HOURS, and his age and his far from hunky physique removes him from the usual action star category. The way he attacked the role of the lovable rogue that is Boy Golden, however, was intelligent and adroit, making the audience sympathize with him without losing sight of the fact that he is a ruthless killer. Chito Roño once more created a masterwork, keeping the promise he made since be megged a remake of PATAYIN SA SINDAK SI BARBARA in 1995, where he successfully updated a classic while
staying true to the spirit of the original. Roño truly has a talent for clear narrative told through unconventional styles, using a mainly linear process interspersed at the right times with flashbacks. In BOY GOLDEN, he gives us a wild, heady romp into alternate reality. The film is a classy, stylish addition to the local action genre populated by memorable characters
who have their own stories to tell, animating a multi-faceted bygone world of their own, a world in which the audience ends up wanting to be part of. Now to me, THAT is movie magic.
BACKROOM, INC. SHOUTS OUT ITS LAST HURRAH AND WELCOMES A BIGGER AND BRIGHTER 2014
As the famous Yuletide song goes, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” The Holiday Season is synonymous with merry-making, parties, reunions, shopping, gift-giving, caroling, Santa Claus, and fireworks. The atmosphere comes alive with the festive mood of the people. In Backroom, Inc., Christmas is always a delightful and much-awaited yuletide sea-
son of the year. Last December 17, Backroom celebrated its annual Christmas Party held at Hemady Square , 86 Doña Hemady Street, E. Rodriguez, Sr., Avenue , Quezon City. Backroom opted to simplify the party and called it Backroom Christmas Dinner.
The party began with a Thanksgiving Mass officiated by Reverend Fr. Allan Samonte followed by a sumptuous dinner. After dinner, exciting parlor games were played participated in by Backroom staff, artists and guests. It was hosted by NYOBG members (Backroom’s newest league of artists). As part of its annual tradition, Backroom had its raffle draw where each staff brought
home gifts and cash prizes. The staff also had their exchange gifts. It was a night of fun and friendship as everyone celebrated the Backroom Christmas Party. Backroom, Inc. now looks forward to a bigger and brighter 2014!