Jun 21, 2017

[Movies] Paglipad ng Anghel (Cinemalaya 2011) Review

One of the great things about the iflix conent library beyond local content but actually a lot of independent productions that have been featured in film festivals like Cinemalaya. So there's some award-winning content to be enjoyed and there's also some weird content that still manages to see the light of day.

I ended up watching Paglipad ng Anghel one slow evening as it was cited as a Cinemalaya participant and it features Sid Lucero, who I went to school with many years ago. It's not like I've been avidly following his career or anything but from time to time I do get curious as to what his projects are like. And every serious actor needs to have an indie production or two under one's belt to help build up credentials and such.

I wasn't quite sure what to expect from this movie since all that I knew about it stemmed from the title and poster art alone. But hey such is how adventures in movie watching go, right?

Synopsis: Paglipad ng Anghel (Flight of an Angel) is an independent drama (comedy?) piece written and directed by  Clodualdo Del Mundo Jr. It was a participant in the 2011 Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival.

Gabby (Sid Lucero) is an accountant who performs an act of kindness for an old beggar woman he meets on the street. Shortly thereafter two bumps appear on his back and these eventually develop feathers and grow to full on wings. Initially Gabby does his best to ignore them and keep them hidden but once the feathers start to appear he tries getting an informal diagnosis from his veterinarian friend Rafael (Christian Vasquez).

But no one can figure out what the wings are all about and it seems that Gabby is taking on the physical characteristics of being an angel. But this makes him need to avoid people more and more as he's afraid of becoming an object of spectacle. Things don't get much better when he starts to have visions of an actual angel (Joel Torre) and also develops the ability to heal people by touching them.

What I Liked: Call me biased but Sid Lucero does make for an interesting actor in this weird movie. It's not exactly the greatest role on the planet but he clearly does his best to act the heck out of the role and make the most of this little production. And one can only imagine how weird it must feel to act in scenes where one has giant fake wings on our back yet hidden by an even larger jacket. Oh the things people do in the acting profession.

It's clear the creator wanted to say something about the need to do more good in the world and how that might be rewarded in one way or another. I sense the earnestness of the effort to convey this message somehow and that honesty is a little endearing.

What Could Have Been Better: All that said, the movie is a sad oddly complicated mess of a narrative that makes it feel more like Gabby was punished for his good deed by being turned into this angel on Earth thing. His journey is one that focuses on him running away from his new fate and in the end succeeding in this effort only to perhaps question its relevance? The twist at the end was a strange one that didn't really say anything of value and felt like an attempt to make the narrative end on a somewhat more traditional note.

There are a lot of familiar enough faces involved in this production but that doesn't explain why the acting was mostly terrible in this movie. So many lines of dialog are delivered in a mechanical manner and the effort at incidental comedy only really ended up dead on arrival. And the whole CGI angel angle was probably unnecessary to the narrative - or perhaps not well used.

TL;DR: Paglipad ng Angel is a movie of good intentions but terrible execution. It's not bad movie just because it's an independent production, but more it was handled badly and the writing needed a lot of work. And thus the movie only gets 1 chicken feather out of a possible 5.

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