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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.

Dec 24, 2015

'Honor Thy Father' Worth Watching For John Lloyd Cruz' Super Performance In The Lead Role

THE PRIMARY REASON you should not miss “Honor They Father” is John Lloyd Cruz’ superb portrayal of a man who is pushed into the extreme. This is certainly not the usual wholesome and clean-looking JLC you normally see in his rom-coms with Sarah Geronimo or in his dramas with Bea Alonzo. As Edgar, a softie who is shown kindly giving food to a stray dog at the opening scene, he starts with a long fuse that gets shorter and shorter during the course of the story, until he explodes with shattering impact.

He gets great support from Meryll Soriano as his uppity wife whose get-rich-quick scheme ultimately causes their family’s downfall. Tirso Cruz III is sure to get a best supporting actor nomination for his convincing portrayal of Bishop Tony, the leader of a Christian sect called Church of Yeshua, whose main preoccupation as a greedy evangelist is actually to get more and more cash donations from his followers.

Also giving splendid supporting performances are Dan Fernandez, Boom Labrusca and Khalil Ramos as JLC’s miner brothers who help him build an underground tunnel for a project that aims to steal church money; Perla Bautista as his mom; and Lander Vera Perez and Yayo Aguila as the ruthless couple who kidnap his wife and daughter to get back the money they invested and lost in a pyramid scam.

The film has fairly well crafted technical aspects, especially the cinematography, the production design and the musical score. The mountain locations are also great. We’ve never seen Baguio and Benguet as beautifully photographed as in this one. We truly loved the funeral scene shot on a mountaintop cemetery.

The movie is a big satire against organized religion that operates like a syndicate and hypocritical Christians who keep on praising the Lord outwardly but are actually so materialistic and do the most unchristian things. The scenes showing the brutality and violence with which the vengeful churchgoers punished JLC and his family are difficult to watch. Yes, they were swindled, but have they really lost all their Christian values of mercy and compassion because of their love for money?

The MMFF entry dealing with the most serious issues that mirror reality, “Honor They Father” is a dark movie that viewers looking for laughs and merriment during the Christmas holidays, a time when we are repeatedly reminded that it is better to give than to receive, will definitely find it not in keeping with the yuletide season as it is the opposite of a feel good film.