This is one unique story about a prodigal son who proved to be not that one written in the Bible. Here is one young adult man who went astray because his own father never understood him, and he had no time to make amends with his son until the day he died. When the son went back home to embrace once more and seek help from his blood siblings, the father was gone. Thanks God, the son still had his mother- who united them all (the family), all-over again.
But that is not just the whole story of this magnificent and truly brilliant new film from highly-acclaimed Filipino director Erik Matti. The story is about money- and how people greatly suffered from the ill-effects of material wealth, combined by their wrong faith on their chosen Religion.
The Catholic church does not oblige people to give them money, it’s all voluntary. Though in some cases- in times of calamities, danger, church-building and other reasons, sometimes, people with faith on their convictions humble themselves down to ask for help and monetary support. And now, to some, it becomes abusive. And that’s where the devil comes-in.
A lot of independent churches and religious groups have emerged by this time in this modern-day society. And to a few, giving money becomes obligatory. Religion and business became “twin conspiracies”. And the film Honor Thy Father greatly focused itself on this aspect.
We just didn’t know if the film was “anti-Christ”, after all. But when lead actor John Lloyd Cruz said to his wife- “Your God, not mine”, we felt a little bit confused. In this three-dimensional world we now live-in, God becomes ‘a little option’. It is now more about the strength and conviction of one ordinary man. How could he cope-up with the greatest challenge of his life- MINUS GOD.
It is his love for his family that mattered the most- not the love for God. And this made him a hero for us. Furthermore, this made him A MORE JUST AND RIGHTEOUS MAN for us.
He crossed the boundaries, went beyond the limits, crossed-over higher with his imaginations of stealing a bank, killed two people and played tricks with TIME. Yes, a mortal man could also do magic, perform acts of awe and shock, defy God and in the end, showed his true strength, glory and character.
John Lloyd Cruz, as Edgar, the main lead character of this thrilling and absorbing film, was quiet but so intense. His eyes could speak, his gentle moves could electrify you and his tears at end could melt your heart. This is one “out-of-the-box” film role for John Lloyd, who’s more comfortable in those glossy love stories kind of film from his home studio in Star Cinema. But John Lloyd experimented this time. And it’s a WONDER.
Meryll Soriano as Edgar’s wife was so, so fine in this movie. She never over-acted, too, like John Lloyd. She was consistent in scene after scene. And she provided the best conflict in the story of this film as a throughly devoted wife, mother and Religious fanatic bounded and trapped with his father’s networking business.
Once more, Tirso Cruz III proved to be such a very good veteran actor in this film- portraying the role of a Religious cult leader. Dan Fernandez as Edgar’s elder brother managed to stand-out in a few scenes with his good characterization of a supportive blood sibling. William Martinez was surprising in this role as the assistant of the Religious leader. We could say by now, that the former matinee idol in the ’80’s had transformed himself into a serious character actor.
The direction of Erik Matti was truly original and very “Hollywoodish”. There’s no dull scene, every scene counted and the beauty of his cinematic vision was truly wonderful.
Once more, scriptwriter Michiko Yamamoto (of Magnifico and Norte) delivered a very efficient job of telling a delicate story which no one could have told as honest as this one.
Honor Thy Father gained good reviews at the Toronto International Film Festival and was well-appreciated when it was shown as the Opening Film at the recently-concluded Cinema One Originals Film Festival. And we can say, no wonder why.
Production Companies: Reality Entertainment Inc.
Cast: John Lloyd Cruz, Meryll Soriano, Dan Fernandez, Tirso Cruz III, Perla Bautista, Yayo Aguila, Khalil Ramos, William Martinez, Lander Vera Perez, Boom Labrusca, Krystal Brimner
Director: Erik Matti
Writer: Michiko Yamamoto
Story by: Erik Matti, Michiko Yamamoto
Producer: Erik Matti
Supervising Producer: Tess V. Fuentes
Associate Producer: Stacey Bascon
Executive Producers: Ronald “Dondon” Monteverde, John Lloyd Cruz
Director of Photography: Ber Cruz
Production Designer: Ericsson Navarro
Editor: Jay Halili
Sound Supervision: Mikko Quizon
Composer: Erwin Romulo
Sales: Reality Entertainment Inc.
(A FILM REVIEW BY ROBERT MANUGUID SILVERIO)
BONUS LINK: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review/honor-thy-father-tiff-review-822705