Tuesday, January 31, 2006

"Big Time" Reviewed

I'm sure I would've plenty liked this movie if I didn't have Maxi to compare it to (geddemit, am I doing my English prepositions right?). It was funny enough, entertaining for an hour and half. You won't walk out of the cineplex feeling robbed exactly, but you won't come out feeling like you've seen something that means anything either.

Inspired by funny crime capers à la Tarantino or Ritchie, Big Time follows the machinations of small-time and big-time criminals in Manila. It is doesn't show anything particularly original but the dialogue is full of Pinoy pop culture in-jokes. It is technically well-made and creative and the actors' performances are also laudable.

My beef is, Big Time doesn't say anything about anything. The belated "meaningful insights" at the end felt suspiciously contrived as though an after-thought. This kind of story seems watchable and "apt" in a differet social context (London in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Las Vegas in Ocean's 11, or wherever Reservoir Dogs was set). In the well-ordered universe of first world capitals, criminal activities made funny are so novel and improbable they are rendered humorous. But in a third world setting where we all cope with the kinds of shit we see in this film, what is left to "shock" us into laughing?

I hope this trend of empty-yet-cool-flashy indiemovies doesn't continue. Or I'm getting pissed off big time.

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