MOVIE REVIEW: Angela Markado (2015)

Angela Markado is a confused, lowly incompetent if not entirely, disrespectful remake of a Lino Brocka classic. Its marketing boasts the name of the National Artist, together with the Hilda Koronel-starrer having received the prestigious grand prix award in France at the Nantes Film Festival in 1983, only to appear as a misleading note on the invites to the premiere night. (Let’s all be reminded that the original film won the award and not this 2015 version that has just premiered as of writing. If this continues to spread to lure audience in, then we have a big problem that must be called off.)

Andi Eigenmann, fresh from her equally horrible portrayals in Tragic Theater last January 2015 and Your Place or Mine? last April, now takes the spotlight as the titular character. The remake is under the helm of Carlo J. Caparas who wrote the comics from which the original film was based. If only the late Brocka were still alive today, he would surely find this an insult, if not a joke, to the craft itself more than anything else. It would not be a necessity to have seen the 1983 film just to realize that this so-called “updated” adaptation is nowhere near the former’s calibre. On first thought, why create this remake in the first place?

In a perfect world, you don’t start a revenge story with the revenge act itself unless it is executed well and unless you want to say something important. Angela Markado begins with a Magpakailanman-type of cold open: not useful and too foreign to the audience simply because there is no connection yet.

Along the way, the jumps between the present and the flashback do not help in easing the audience into the troubles of the protagonist. The intentions are not clear at all. Rather than aiding, the device seems only there for the heck of it: immature and poorly thought of as if everything is a manifestation of slack writing. Whenever the story rests to give way to flashback scenes, the tension is suspended instead of being built up for the emotions to sink in. Had that been the case, it would be more comfortable to sympathize with Angela in spite of the diabolic acts she resorts to doing.

In an alternate universe, we see a poor, charming Angela at the core of her character, until one night she meets the five men who would rape her, and later on she would seek revenge with the audience taking her side, believing in her, wholeheartedly knowing that a woman should stand up amidst misery. But then again, any of these are never a part of Caparas’ take on Angela Markado.

At one point, instead of Andi Eigenmann, the lead character could have been any of these two supporting characters: (1) Kayla Acosta’s policewoman character who constantly twitches her forehead to call it “acting” insofar as keeping her emotion at full blast even if her character does not call for it. Her tag name reads ACOSTA which later on reveals as a nod to Public Attorney’s Office chief Persida Rueda-Acosta who happens to be her mother. Kayla is a PETA (Philippines Educational Theater Association) actress–perhaps, that is why her acting is too big and uncalled for or she might have still been imagining the whole setup as a stage play. The audience keeps on laughing whenever she strikes her (signature) facial expression: fiery, undeterred and annoying. If this is an indication that there is something wrong, then her acting skills should be re-examined. Letting her take the role only because she is the daughter of Atty. Persida could sound superficial but we cannot merely dismiss such idea.

Same goes with character (2): Ysabelle Peach Caparas who plays the daughter of Bembol Roco’s character and sister to Buboy Villar’s. Together, they later on revolt, through a laughable climax, against the inhumane lordship over the ranch of Paolo Contis’s character.

There is too much exposure for such lame acting that needs a lot of polishing. No wonder, she is the daughter of Carlo J. Caparas. According to her during the press conference, she is the one being groomed as the next producer in the family after their mother Donna Villa. Maybe, since there is a chance in the midst of Angela Markado, they just let her take the role with more speaking lines than necessary. Ultimately, Ysabelle Peach is not ready to handle much of the responsibilities handed to her as an actress in the film. The result is a mess however hard it is to push herself. In due time, with more opportunities to improve their acting skills, these two character actresses would prove themselves as deserving for the role, rather than keeping people thinking that they are part of something just because of their parents.

Another Caparas who plays big in Angela Markado si CJ Caparas, one of the rapists that has ruined Angela Markado’s life. There is a striking potential in CJ as he possesses the stance of a determined actor. It is not difficult for him to keep with the pace of his “barkada” in the story: the characters played by Paolo Contis, Polo Ravales, Felix Roco and Epi Quizon. The five of them play their respective evil characters to their very best. Each of them showcases enough time to turn Angela’s world upside down as they kidnap, tie up, rape and brand her. The story attempts to flesh out the motivations of each rapist, only to end up swaying to and fro without any specific purpose.

When worse comes to worst, the bit players are there to ruin every single scene they are in. How can all of these even be called passable acting? Even when they are with the main actors in a scene, they all act minus the drive and they look unprepared. In one scene, since the story requires showing how courageous Angela has become, she randomly walks into an arguing couple and saves the wife from the hands of her husband. Only the acting of these bit players are as terrible as the idea of adding this blasphemy.

Also, if the actors cannot speak well in Filipino, why force them into delivering complicated lines with Filipino words that are hard for them to pronounce? Apparently, it does not sound natural at all, that even if the characters themselves are still learning the language somewhere unwritten in the story, trying so hard does not do them any good. A good example is Brett Jackson who plays the character of Angela’s boyfriend. He will be playing a lead role in the upcoming Cinemalaya entry Mercury is Mine, so he better be better in a Jason Paul Laxamana film.

All in all, the level of horrors in Angela Markado is indescribable that looking into the smallest details could even worsen the pangs and would even bring about heartaches and headaches to those who want to watch the worth of their movie tickets. We could forget about how the production forgets to bother for proper headline writing on their props, or how it passes off pasting cut-out words on a newspaper to make new headlines, or how it uses cardboards as makeshift microphones for TV reporters in the story. We could forget how bad and pointless the CGI effects are, how simple things turn out illogical, or how the found-footage-like treatment is dizzying and, again, pointless (other than being able to hide blood and violence). We could just forget how everything is a mess or how the story wraps itself at the end the way a makahiya would close its leaves when touched. That’s just how Angela Markado works: it folds when it is ashamed, it hides when it knows it’s bad. And it is a horrible, horrible film.

As an endnote, with Angela Markado’s blatant exploration of rape, drugs and violence, how come it received an R-13 rating from MTRCB? For a censoring body that gave a General Patronage (G) rating to the science fiction action film Transformers, nobody should be surprised.

angela markado movie poster

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