In the traffic-laden streets of Metro Manila, two brothers use the chaos of the city roads as a smokescreen for their shady occupation: tandem robbers on motorbike. But when a robbery goes sour, the brothers are forced to graduate from low-level thieves to high profile hit men in an act that tests both their resolve and their relationship.
From Quantum Films, Tuko Film Productions & Buchi Boy Films, the people behind Heneral Luna and English Only, Please comes a crime-thriller drama directed by King Palisoc, whose body of work ranges from music videos and TV commercials to television shows and film. Graduating with a degree in B.A Communications from the Ateneo de Manila University, King went straight to pursuing a career in filmmaking, directing music videos for established local acts in the Philippines. Likewise, he has also worked as director and writer for the TV show “Rakista”, and became a member of the Concept Development group for Star Cinema Productions, Inc, where he co-wrote his first feature-length film “Babe, I Love You.”
The film is based on a concept originally written by Mikhail Red. The director of photography of Tandem, Pong Ignacio, is the same cinematographer for Heneral Luna. The one who created the live effects is Dick Sto. Domingo who also supervised Heneral Luna’s effects and gunfire.
This is Rochelle Pangilinan’s first major role in an independent film. The film also features a grownup “Tolits” of Eat Bulaga fame, BJ Forbes. Tandem had its world premiere at the Montreal International Film Festival. After which, it participated at the Vancouver International Film Festival and Cairo International Film Festival. It is slated to have its European premiere at the Fantasporto International Film Festival in Oporto, Portugal, one of Europe’s premiere fantastic film festivals.
Starring JM De Guzman (That Thing Called Tadhana) and Nico Antonio (Posas), Tandem explores the real life crime of tandem robberies and hired killers in the Philippines, where men on motorbikes use the chaos of the Metro Manila streets as a means of getting away with their crime.
Roman and Rex are both brothers and partners, earning their living as low-level thieves, robbing unsuspecting victims in Metro Manila. Rex is the get-away driver of their old yet sturdy motorcycle and Roman is the duo’s “point man”. But while Roman is more cautious than his younger brother, Rex’s gung-ho spirit often puts him at odds with Roman. Roman’s action are further influenced by his wife, Cha, who is carrying their first child. Rex, however, is in love with his on-again, off-again girlfriend, Nadine.
The two brothers are regularly conned by Alba and Lucero, two corrupt cops with ties to local crime syndicates. But Roman knows that paying them off is better than going to jail.
The brothers are planning a robbery on a local construction site, where the pay-off is larger than the petty handbags and cellphones they nab on the street. Their informant, Julius, a construction worker in the site, feeds them the target of their robbery: the foreman. But when the robbery goes
sour, Rex kills the foreman in an effort to save his brother.
In the meantime, Alba and Lucero are being investigated by a high-ranking internal affairs officer determined to clean up the Philippine National Police (PNP). In an effort to maintain a low profile status, Alba and Lucero investigate the case of the murdered foreman. They manage to identify Julius, the informant of Roman and Rex during the robbery.
While in hiding, tensions rise between Roman and Rex. When Rex tries to visit Nadine, Roman attempts to stop him, worried that Rex will be identified. But Rex resists and walks out on his brother.
While with Nadine, Rex is picked up by Alba and Lucero, prompting a meeting between them and Roman. At a local videoke bar, Alba and Lucero tell the brothers that they have no intention of charging them with murder. Instead, the officers black mail them into killing the high-ranking internal affairs officer investigating them.
Rex and Roman reluctantly take the job. When the hit fails, the brothers plan their escape. Rex demands that they take Nadine with them when they leave the city. Roman is unable to stop Rex.
But since Roman is unwilling to leave his brother behind, Roman tells Rex that they will be waiting to pick Rex and Nadine up at an abandoned water tower. When Rex goes to Nadine, Alba and Lucero catch Rex and violently force him to confess the whereabouts of Roman.
At the water tower, the cops find Roman and Cha. Rex manages to kill Lucero but Alba ends up killing Cha. Rex realizes that his actions had led to the death of Cha and sees that Roman is wounded from the fight with Alba. Roman and Rex confront each other one last time, right before
Roman bleeds to death in front of his brother.
Its participation at the Metro Manila Film Festival New Wave competition marks its Philippine premiere. It will have its theatrical run in February, 2016.
The MMFF New Wave competition runs from December 17 to 24 at SM Megamall, Glorietta 4 and Robinson’s Manila. The gala premiere of Tandem will be on December 17, Thursday, 7:30PM at Glorietta 4 Cinema 3.
Here’s the screening schedules: