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In this unpredictable and tightly-paced thriller, family man Marlon Villar - a longtime chauffeur to corrupt Filipino politician Manuel Chango - is faced with an unthinkable predicament when he is ambushed while driving both his boss's and his own daughter home from school one afternoon. As events spin wildly out of control, Marlon, Chango and their families are forced into a rapid downward spiral of deceit and betrayal that will leave no one innocent. -- (C) Drafthouse
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as Marlon Villar
as Manuel Chango
as Detective Ramos
as Detective Ramos
as Elvie Villar
as Marcy Chango
as Marcy Chango
as Sophia Chango
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Critic Reviews for Graceland
Graceland ... has a ruthlessness rarely attempted by its North American counterparts.
The film feels increasingly exploitative as it becomes more overtly political, illustrating various forms of injustice with blunt, sensationalistic imagery.
The social and economic pitfalls facing the vast urban underclass of Manila's sprawling metropolitan area are depicted with unflinching regard in Ron Morales' observant low-budget Filipino feature, a blend of ruthless crime drama and grim thriller.
A tense, twisty cinematic artichoke brimming with moral complexity and intriguing shades of gray.
Audience Reviews for Graceland
'Graceland'. Sets the stakes high, stumbles, but ultimately finds its feet as a first-rate thriller. A scathing take on the corruption and sex trade in the Philippines.
Ransom flicks I'll admit is not a territory I have much experienced in given I've only seen a few of them. From a story perspective these films have potential, but can fall into a tedious nature. That's the case with Graceland which in spite of being a good film demands you sit through tedious storytelling for a payoff.
Graceland is about a desperate father risking everything to save his daughter from the men who hold her captive. The premise doesn't sound original but is saved by taking an unexpected direction. The father we follow is not entirely sympathetic. We constantly question his actions to save his daughter even more so in a revelation that puts everything into perspective. It has enough plot to hold a small film but missing are some significant subplots. It's too direct without a focus on anything else it lacking depth on what it tackles.
In terms of development we get very basic dialogue. There's not a single scene that goes for too long because of how minimum the conversations are kept. This causes pacing issues as scene abruptly end as often as they begin. Pacing issues only gives us glimpses of themes of family, class, corruption, extortion, sexual behaviour, suspicion, sickness, trafficking, revenge, redemption, etc. in the middle. These mention themes are rush in the first and final act. The acting is at best decent. No stand out performances here, but are good enough to add tension to the story even when it dragging itself. Be advise though there is a scene where we see a preteen child visibly naked making for one very uncomfortable moment for the viewer.
Graceland while not destined to become the next great ransom flick is a good one. It takes a unoriginal premise into a unexpected direction enough so the whole picture is worth taking a look. If you're able to get through the tedious moments you'll find something that will make you think.
Gets a tad contrived towards the end, and the secondary acting is amateurish at times (though lead Arnold Reyes is outstanding), "Graceland" is, for the most part, a lean, mean, efficient thriller about the knotty ways political corruption compromises the moral justification of everyday people forced to operate under its spell. Sleek and stylish without losing its edge or focus, writer-director Ron Morales' film, like the sexual deviance of the linchpin congressman belying its central kidnapping conflict, feels, bewitchingly, like an unflinching pebble broken off from a greater, scarier rock. (78/100)
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