26 September 2012

The Mistress: A Sort of Review

So ok; I watched “The Mistress,” big deal! Not my favourite genre, if I am being honest; but there was a scheduled power outage and rather than swelter in the heat, I went for a movie. “Dredd” and “Residend Evil” I had already seen; and I will not be caught dead watching “Pridyider.” So, I went to see “The Mistress.”

“Sabi ko sa ‘yo sa g’yera ako eh!” a male voice a few rows behind me complained to his companion to my utter amusement. Not that the option was available to me since I had already seen the two action movies showing at the mall. The gentleman had my sympathies.

In the small lunchtime audience was an overwhelming majority of either giggly teenage girls or equally giggly nanays, one of which had the utter lack of good manners to point a flashlight into people’s faces as she tried to find a seat.


Even then, I noticed the demureness not only in the face but, more importantly, the aura. All I am saying is that for her role in “The Mistress,” I probably would have preferred somebody with more overt sexuality. I found Alonso to have too much Snow White purity in her and General Patronage pasted all over her pretty face.
Mind, there were so many vacant seats that I would not have been surprised had one reached out to grab and pull her down.

That I was in the wrong place, I did not have to be told. Surprisingly, however, the movie itself turned out to be at the very least watchable.

For starters, the melodrama was laid back; always a good thing as far as I am concerned. Next, most of the time the movie was under-acted; and it is probably no coincidence that it was Ronaldo Valdez as Rico Torres – or the D.O.M. who wanted ‘lean meat’ on Thursdays – who was delivering his lines in the gritted teeth style of the old school.

Despite the laid back acting, one aspect that I felt could have been improved on in the movie was the manner of the actors’ delivery of lines. The dialogues were too structured in the me-first-you-next way, if you get my drift.

It does not happen that way in real conversations at all, when statements can be cut short by somebody butting in or people can be talking all at the same time. In fairness, I have yet to see a Filipino movie in which actors – Eugene Domingo aside – approximate reality in the delivery of their lines.

Hollywood actors, I feel, are way ahead in this regard. Older readers may recall the television series “Moonlighting” when the exchanges between the lead characters were simply delectable. Of course, this can also be down to how the scripts are written.

To be fair, some of the exchanges between Bea Alonzo as Sari Alfonso and John Lloyd Cruz as Eric “JD” Cruz were surprisingly captivating, dramatic without being overboard.

“The Mistress” potentially had a rich theme that could have been explored in diverse ways: father and son both enamoured with the same woman; a clash of social classes; and familial conflicts spawned by lapses in the parents’ morals.

That the movie failed to milk its own potentially rich theme for complications and a plethora of possible twists and turns is probably both a boon and a bane. On the one hand, it is spectacularly raking in the millions from the turnstiles by ultimately being formulaic; on the other hand, it probably leaves the more discriminating viewers feeling somehow short-changed.

To be fair, the movie avoided the trap of the happily-ever-after ending; and, I suppose, in this regard it tried to sidestep the formula. That ending was also quite delightfully done.

I understand that the movie was created to celebrate the anniversary of Cruz and Alonso as a love team. However, I am not entirely convinced that Alonso was rightly cast for her role.

I understand from the talk shows that she found this role challenging and difficult; but while she had a really bore-quality bed scene with Valdez and a more provocative scene when she forced Cruz’s hand onto her feminine parts, by and large I do not think that she overcame her natural persona of utter demureness.

I actually once stood right next to Alonso in a fastfood restaurant and did not have a clue who she was because I never really was into local entertainment. Somebody pointed her out to me; so I quickly noted the pretty face but soon forgot all about her.

Even then, I noticed the demureness not only in the face but, more importantly, the aura. All I am saying is that for her role in “The Mistress,” I probably would have preferred somebody with more overt sexuality. I found Alonso to have too much Snow White purity in her and General Patronage pasted all over her pretty face.

On the other hand, since Cruz is not exactly your archetypal alpha male, perhaps he was just as miscast. The boy-next-door charm does not quite fit the supposedly libidinous role.

When I come to think about it, JD asking Sari if his father was a better lover spoke volumes about the inherent sexuality of the movie’s theme. The producers were probably expectant of hefty returns from the box office; and so that probably explains why the sex was so lame.

The bed scene between Cruz and Alonso, for instance, certainly had the feel of bahay-bahayan between a pre-pubertal boy and girl. For a sex scene, it was totally asexual, if you get my drift. On the other hand, any more and the nanays in the audience would have giggled unbearably.

Will I recommend the film? Yes, definitely! Do not expect a profound intellectual film, though. That said, the cinematography was excellent, the pacing was fast and, I suppose, overall the movie was quite enjoyable.

Just don’t say you heard all these from me...











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