During the 2012 Fantastic Fest, this thriller filmed in Metro Manila, Philippines from director Ron Morales was well received after screening eaelier in the year at the Tribeca Film Festival where the film placed 2nd in the Audience Award category, and then won the Jury Award for Best Narrative Feature at the San Diego Asian Film Festival in November.
Although over the years I have seen films about affluent families being victims of kidnapping in other countries, there is nothing to say that this story is like the others. It is well written and keeps the viewer on the edge of the seat with the often difficult to watch scenes of the female children and young adults in this film.
Arnold Reyes does an impressive job as Marlon Villar, the trusted chauffeur to a corrupt Filipino politician, Manuel Chango (Menggie Cobarrubias). Both Reyes and Cobarrubias have an extensive list of acting credits in television series and both portray their characters convincingly; one a desperate father who wants to help his daughter and the other is one we love to hate – a politician, a very corrupt politition who thinks he can get away with it all.
Villar is driving both his boss Chango ’s daughter, Sophia (Patricia Ona Gayod) and his own daughter, Elvie (Ella Guevara) home from school one afternoon when he finds himself in the midst of a kidnapping attempt on Chango’s daughter. It is up to Villar to work things through with the kidnappers, before it is too late for Elvie.
Graceland is screening at the Alamo Drafthouse Village Theater in Austin and is available on VOD.