A road of violence, crime, endless guilt and despair.
Welcome to Bang Bang Alley.
Bang Bang Alley is a Filipino anthology film presented by first time filmmakers Ely Buendia, Yan Yuzon and King Palisoc. The movie is three-part movie moulded by violence, drama, and desperation at the same time giving away a distinct Filipino context.
The movie unlocks with a different acting prowess from Jimmy Santos as he plays a role of a bodyguard, who’s taking a break from all the stress through spending the night in a karaoke bar. But all the good vibes came out of his system as he hears a voice that rings a bell and sing the song ‘My Way.’ Memories from the past came rushing back to him, waking up his vengeful heart.
Then Bang Bang Alley officially starts with Yan Yuzon’s Aso’t Pusa’t Daga where a pragmatic journalist, played by Bela Padilla as a sole witness and survivor from a political mass murder. She became under the protection of a police, portrayed by Yuzon himself, as she tries to fight for justice and against a corrupt politician and mastermind behind the massacre Governer Raul Fabella, played effectively by Joel Torre.
Little did they know, they were already twisted around the fingers of the Fabella and trapped between the hands of the powerful politician. Yuzon simply mirrors the reality that is happening within our flawed society and our government system. It displays that any man possessing such great power can get him anywhere, whatever the consequences may be.
Makina opens the second the part of the anthology as Gabe Mercado convincingly and successfully played the role of Emman, a driver who got involved in an accident but refused to admit the crime he committed. He was caged by his guilt and his bottled emotions as he ran away from his responsibilities and the authorities. The darkness was slowly eating him up as he also faced a marriage on the rocks because of his cheating wife.
Pangs of conscience and desperation are like water slowly spilling on the rim of a glass. That’s how I would describe how Emman handled everything that was going through his life. Palisoc, together with a clever script by Zig Marasigan, pulls out a solid concept about human nature. Everything definitely has its limits; everyone can be a ticking time bomb and not knowing when to explode.
Last but not the least was Ely Buendia’s Pusakal starring Megan Young as Abbey, a young woman born with a silver spoon in her mouth, committed crime of passion. To escape from the madness, she withdrew to the mountains of Benguet and with her is an old woman, performed by Perla Bautista who’s also facing her own battles. Decades had past but she still fights for the land she calls her own against people trying to take it away from her.
Two different women but both strongly stand in the midst of their struggles and trials. Two different stories but were brought along together, helping and learning from each other’s troubles. Although lacking that conviction on Young’s part as an actress and the execution on the storyline compared to Makina, Buendia’s take on this still managed to maintain that certain momentum from the very beginning of the film, just a perfect spice to end the anthology.
Bang Bang Alley is definitely not your typical stroll in the park; instead it is your pulse-racing, breath taking roller coaster ride. With every twist and turns, with every loop to pass, it was one hell of a ride. It started perfectly and undeniably caught my attention and built the anticipation all throughout the movie.
Every filmmaker showcased their own concept of crime and violence and managed to give it a touch of local context that almost every Filipino can relate to and it ended just the way you would want to remember it. This film certainly brought my faith back to Philippine cinema.
A road of violence, crime, endless guilt and despair. A road you would risk taking but nonetheless would never regret.
Care to take a walk through Bang Bang Alley?