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Main Cast: Enrique Gil, Christopher de Leon, Shaina Magdayao
Director: Paul Soriano
MTRCB Rating: R-13
Produced by: Star Cinema and TEN17P
With the spate of crimes in the Philippines where every neighborhood fears about unsafe streets, drug addicts, kidnappings and burglaries, director Paul Soriano takes a cue and conveys what goes on in the hearts of both the criminal and his victim. He steps in to thematic territory that is not often covered with such gross detail. Thankfully, the indie movie takes a balance, not capitalizing on the plight of the poor.
Enrique Gil’s ‘Dukot’ is a first of its kind for the young actor, an action-suspense thriller film that was based on real-life events, notably on the grief and suffering of a kidnap victim Carlo (Enrique) and his middle-class family – lawyer father, Charlie Sandoval (Ricky Davao), sister Cathy (Shaina) and mother Cecille (Bing Pimentel).
Film revolves around Carlo’s kidnapping when the criminal group (headed by Ping and Alex Medina) barges into his sister Cathy’s yoga studio and taking him along with their loot. The commotion and chaos are real and calculating.
The scenes that followed after reveal the unimaginable ordeal of the victim’s family, details in real life of which are often kept away from the public eye. The gang’s every move is calculated and bold as they brazenly talk with the family for ransom.
True to his previous statement, director Paul loves working with the likes of his idol, multi-awarded indie film director Lav Diaz (Hele sa Hiwaga Hapis) to get a piece of their genius, which has obviously rubbed off on him on this film. The precise execution of each scene, the details, acting – no one actor did not shine.
Carlo’s torment, as he languishes for days alone in that locked, filthy room is quite poignant - hungry, dirty, almost on the brink of losing his mind – while he peeps in that one single hole watching his captors celebrate a family member’s birthday with lavish food.
Shaina is competent as Cathy, a daughter trying to balance between guilt and a brave front for brother Carlo and her parents who feel that a time bomb ticking in their heads trying to raise the huge ransom money. Charlie is very effective, pictured as a model father who also succumbs to corruption in the workplace and justifies it.
Christopher de Leon wins aplomb for this film as the criminal gang’s accomplice, probably a first where he is not a rich, strict and jet setting executive. As manong Johnny, he looks unkempt, unshaven, quiet – a father who is also worried sick of his own son’s predicament.
Enrique will best be remembered for this film – a far cry from his past movies. He has character to carry out Carlo’s role with such depth and maturity.
‘Dukot’ gives a stark contrast between two fathers – Charlie and manong Johnny. Towards the movie’s end, manong Johnny’s emotion is perfectly captured as he gives out a big sigh of relief to finally meet his son, while Charlie awaits with bated breath for his Carlo. All good fathers are alike, regardless of circumstances and social status.
Despite some minor lapses, Dukot is certainly worth watching. Pacing is fast, don’t blink your eyes. Worth mentioning, too, is the movie’s musical score and sound that give it that needed oomph.
Dukot also stars Ricky Davao, Ping Medina, Bing Pimentel, Alex Medina, Bang Garcia, Dino Pastrano, now showing in cinemas.