Thursday, February 18, 2010

Marino - Heroism Went Out to Sea

See Ara cry in the kitchen, at the sala, on the bed, at the fishpen, then while changing LPG tanks. Then Allen Dizon joins the crying game at his bunk, by the stairs, and every helluva corner of a sea vessel! Oh! As an afterthought, they decided to season it with a wee bit of a narrative idea. Get the drift?

That "Marino (Call of the Sea)" is this film production's homage to the OFW's and the seafaring Pinoys is a disservice to this subset of itinerant workers. That the movie shows the "simple and noble acts of heroism" is spurious. What is so heroic about a man who, while grieving for the death of his father-in-law, prefers to gallivanting around Thailand's "Ancient Siam" Recreational Park then caps his afternoon with a lay in the hay with a hooker in Bangkok? That this is the very first film to focus on the plight of Pinoy seamen is purely sensationalist hogwash and ignorant. Remember Mark Reyes' horrible "I.T.A.L.Y. (I Trust and Love You)" shown barely 2 years ago? That film was about the lives of Filipinos working on a cruise ship - and shot in "3 continents, 5 countries and 13 cities" - as though that was going to produce a masterpiece.

In "Marino", a horde of men are thrown together in a commercial vessel where we witness "ultra-thin" slices of their miserable lives. But the spotlight is on Benjo (Allen Dizon) who worries about a myriad of concerns: his wife Mina (Ara Mina) and her sick father, his younger brother Henry (Mike Tan). The rest of the crew is made up of dispensable characters - an awful cook (Victor Basa), a horndog gay man (Rico Barrera), an epileptic crew (Emilio Garcia). On land, we are further introduced to several indeterminate characters: the tricycle driver Arman (Marco Alcaraz) who pines for Mina's affections; Benjo's hopeful ex-girlfriend (Bangs Garcia) and a Filipina hooker who plies the streets of Bangkok (Krista Ranillo).

Director Paul Sta. Ana concocts a chopsuey of badly told stories that reek with fragmented melodrama and borderline acting. It was obvious they were highlighting the middling dramatic prowess of Allen Dizon who has of late been resorting to "woe-is-me" dramatics. That he can cry buckets is no benchmark for a good performance! He didn't move me! I was more annoyed! At the other end of the spectrum is how "Marino" drips with obdurate sentimentality, it is laughable!

The protracted story involving Krista Ranillo is really an expendable beat and is meant to give Ranillo more screen time than the story requires. A lost necklace, it seems, is Benjo's testament to fidelity. This is one guy whose priorities are all skewered! I would be a moron if I were to sympathize with his character.

In these times, heroism and nobility have acquired a new meaning. Why do people tend to believe that heroism is synonymous with leaving the country for a job abroad? What does it make the Filipinos who opt to stay home and work twice as hard for so much less? Are they really less of a hero for staying put? Are we less noble for enduring what our country can provide? Go figure!

Ara Mina (as Mina) is confused. She can't quite make up her mind whether her father suffered a stroke or is comatose? So they killed him off. That makes things less complicated! LOL

Two months of riding the vessel, Benjo already amassed several videos of his family. He even watches videos of him and his father-in-law sharing a light moment on his TV bunk. You can imagine how many other videos he will own one year later. Amazing! After receiving news of his in-law's death, he cavorts with a hooker in Bangkok. Upon his return to the vessel, he engages in a 5-minute crying spell as he grieves (again) for his father-in-law. Akala ko tatay n'ya ang iniiyakan, biyenan pala. Haha! Meanwhile, back in Manila, the dead man's own daughter Mina has moved on.

Mike Tan is a breath of fresh air. He plays Henry, Benjo's younger brother who once again failed his board exams.

Rico Barrera is Errol who slithers his way around crewmates' beds. Others call him "Carol".

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