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El Presidente

The copy just sounds wrong.

There is a line from the film Braveheart which goes, "History is written by those who have hanged heroes." Aside from being a 4-5 hit alliteration combo, that saying rings true, especially in the days of the first Philippine republic.

"A monkey with a gun? How fascinating."

When a film is titled El Presidente, you know it’s going to be about Emilio Aguinaldo, especially after seeing E.R. Estregan sporting the first president’s famous flat top. By logic, anything pro-Aguinaldo becomes anti-Bonifacio, because the only difference between Aguinaldo and Pontius Pilate is that the former did not wash his hands. Strangely, also, it was Cesar Montano as Bonifacio who gave the better performance.

He also played Jose Rizal once.

The acting department wasn’t this movie’s strongest suit, as the only noteworthy performances came from Montano and Baron Geisler. Some viewers might find the presence of Bayani Agbayani and Bearwin Meily in this film a bit jarring, because this is a serious film and they are familiar faces in Philippine comedy, but hey, that’s the director’s call (director Mark Meily happens to be Bearwin’s brother). Nora Aunor also got top billing, despite appearing in just the last half hour of the fim.

Baron is clearly not pleased.

The technical aspects were praiseworthy, especially the costume and production design. The CGI was not up to par, but that is to be expected with local films. There were some lapses in cinematography, but they were negated by a lot of beautifully shot scenes. Overall, a laudable effort from the creators of Manila Kingpin: The Asiong Salonga Story. But I am still waiting for the ultimate Filipino period film.

Something along the lines of Boardwalk Empire.

El Presidente. Philippines. 2012.

Original rating: 6.3 / 10
Horrendous make-up: - 0.1
Final rating: 6.2 / 10

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