BIRDSHOT (2017) Review
Directed by Mikhail Red
There isn’t quite that many suspense thrillers in the Philippines, mostly they are independently produced and are left unnoticed by the public. But here enters Mikhail Red’s Birdshot, winner of Asian Future Best Film Award at the Tokyo International Film Festival 2016, and it doesn’t feel like anything we’ve seen in recent memory.
I went to the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) to catch the opening film of Cinemalaya which is Birdshot. It was a full-house as the screening is for free and students are available at that time. As it was the Filipinos time to see the film that was awarded internationally, there are expectations and yes, they were met.
The film, as advertised, is about a young girl named Maya (Mary Joy Apostol), who goes into an off-limits reservation forest and shoots an endangered Philippine Eagle. As the manhunt for the shooter begins, Maya and her father (Ku Aquino) does everything to make them look innocent of the killing. But the film actually has another story to tell, one that involves police officer Domingo (Arnold Reyes) in his search for answers of an abandoned bus and its missing passengers.
The film is shot well, it is told well. It may lack an emotional punch as a whole, there’s still a lot in the film to be amazed of. Mycko David frames every scene beautifully and the editing made the film even more suspenseful. It feels like a Hollywood production set in the Philippines.
Mary Joy Apostol may be a newbie but there’s no denying that her charisma in this film is more than felt that she may be one of Philippine cinema’s next star. Arnold Cruz and John Arcilla’s rapport in the film is evident of their experience in acting. There isn’t anyone in here that feels and looks they’re miscast.
Birdshot is an edge-of-your-seat Filipino suspense thriller most of us are hungry to see. This is TBA Studios’ promise in bringing quality films that can keep up with Hollywood productions. Mikhail Red is only 26, and he does wonders through this film. I wish there was more to it emotionally, but the final product is still a must watch, because of its story, cinematography, acting and the message it wants to convey.
4 OUT OF 5 STARS
“Birdshot” opens in cinemas nationwide August 16, 2017 as part of the Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino from TBA Studios, Globe Studios, CJ Entertainment. Rated R-13 by the MTRCB.