Graceland Reviews

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c0up
Super Reviewer
May 2, 2013
'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.
Cinema-Maniac
Super Reviewer
½ May 10, 2013
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.
December 7, 2013
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)
April 28, 2013
A fine, slightly tricky dramatic thriller not inaccurately described as a Filipino "Taken," but meaningful.
July 22, 2015
One plot twist too many but overall a solid film.
September 9, 2014
This one borrows the premise of Kurosawa's "High and Low", but focuses on the man who's daughter is inadvertantly kidnapped and goes very different places from there. Marlon is the chaffeur for a corrupt politician. While driving the politician's daughter and his own, kidnappers strike, but confuse the two girls, killing the politician's daughter and kidnapping Marlon's. Once they realize their mistake, they blackmail Marlon into covering up the mistake in order to collect and ransom and get his daughter back. The kidnapping turns out to be motivated by a lot more than money, and things turn ugly. A fairly nasty and effective thriller.
June 5, 2014
First Filipino movie and worthy of a look.
½ March 16, 2014
I do believe it did well for a low budget film but it could have been so much better with more money pumped into it and another director with a better grip on making taunt thrillers!
½ January 23, 2014
B-grade thriller in Philippine setting with profound message against child prostitution.
October 17, 2013
Suspense/drama about a man's moral conflict. Pulled off the right strings and was enough to keep me on the edge of my seat when I watched it.
½ August 9, 2013
reminds me of "A Simple Plan"
½ August 7, 2013
great movie, very original for a Filipino movie... :)
August 2, 2013
Unflinchingly brutal, and well crafted thriller.
July 20, 2013
unpredictable.new.very real.
June 23, 2013
Isa nanamang pelikulang pinoy na naliligo sa poverty. Parang Taken. Pero pinoy kurap version. Better than Taken 2. Or even Taken for what it's worth. Wastes Angeli Agbayani's talents by giving her a role that any other could play. Other than that, there are no other things I would rant about. This was a Triumph, somehow. A visually murky, haunting art-house production.
½ June 4, 2013
A solid, unromantic, kidnapping thriller which gradually reveals unanticipated complexity.
May 20, 2013
A heavy, ruthless, and shocking tale of the pervasive nature of corruption. Reyes' desperation is utterly palpable.
Cinema-Maniac
Super Reviewer
½ May 10, 2013
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.
April 29, 2013
Very intense movie and delves into a very touchy subject...underage prostitution in the Philipines. Great ending. It is all subtitled, so if you don't like that kind of thing..Otherwise I recommend this movie!
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