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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Nov 28, 2013

Sitio Movie Review: Crudely Made And Badly Acted

MES DE Guzman is one of the more prolific indie filmmakers we have today. For Cinemalaya, he did "Diablo". For CineFilipino, he did "Kuwento ni Mabuti". For Cinemalaya, he did "Sa Kanto ng Ulap at Lupa" and now, "Sitio". But none of his works has equalled the first rate quality of his debut flick, "Ang Daan Patungong Kalimugtong" about two kids in Baguio. He's just lucky that judges continue to make his movies like "Diablo", "Mabuti" and "Sitio" win many trophies.

John Prats goes indie in "Sitio", once again shot on location in de Guzman's native province, Nueva Vizcaya. John as Jonas and his two younger sisters, Ria Garcia and Anja Aguilar, relocate to their home in the mountains. Ria is very much against the idea and it's from her that we infer that they were forced to move to the province only because John's real estate business in the city went bankrupt.

John has a caretaker (Jess Fernando) who helps him hire two other guys (Arnold Reyes and Biboy Ramirez) in building a fence around his property. But they all act like weird retards who are out to prey on John and his sisters. Later on, Jess suddenly vanishes and he is suddenly replaced by another actor, RK Bagatsing. It's not really clear what the motives of these guys are. Are they just ignorant fools out to have a good time or do they really plan to kill and rob John and his sisters?
The material makes us recall "Straw Dogs", which is even mentioned in the movie, first made starring Dustin Hoffman as a nerdy man from the city who has to defend his wife and his home from intruders. It later had a lame remake starring James Marsden. But "Sitio" never achieves the kind of suspense that "Straw Dogs" managed to generate simply because you cannot sympathize with all the characters as they are all stupid morons. You'd really want them all to die as soon as possible so the movie would quickly end and we can go out of the theatre. John Prats must have made this movie thinking it would help forward his career as an actor, especially now that he's relegated to being a dancer and a comedian.

But excuse me, no actor, no matter how good he may be, can redeem the limitations and shortcomings of the material. His two sisters also don't elicit any sympathy, especially Ria Garcia whose very presence is such a big turn off you'd pray the killers would murder her first.

Crudely made and badly acted, this film got a P2 million grant but it just doesn't look it at all. It was just shot in one house and its environs and production values seem impoverished. Someone says it's meant to be a social satire that shows the disparity between the rich and the poor in our country. Excuse me, anong pinagsasasabi nito? Who ever said this is surely making an erroneous reading and hastily jumping into the wrong conclusions. Technically, the movie is also badly executed and the handheld camera is once again sadly overused. performance.