UTOPIA (2019) Review
Written and Directed by Dustin Celestino
You know those films that you thought are just entertaining you then hits you emotionally and psychologically in the end with a surprise reveal? Dustin Celestino’s multi-character and multi-themed movie ‘Utopia’ is a crime comedy that’s hard to execute. I was in awe on how everything was laid out. Imagine having more than 10 characters with more than three story arcs? It may be difficult for an audience to absorb everything but the story was delivered in a way that’s entertaining and also uses its dialogues to discuss relevant and timely issues.
I was having a hard time at first as it introduces its characters and what they are up to. But these characters, the marvelous ensemble are what make Utopia works incredibly. I mean, yes, the story, as it progresses gets more interesting and I’m getting more invested on the characters’ intentions and motives. And when you’re comfortable and familiar enough with the characters and the story, you also get to be more comfortable with its humor and its witty dialogues.
Utopia is not your typical crime comedy movie. It does more than just do bloody, gun-shooting, torture and other uncomfortable-for-the-faint-of-heart scenes, more than just funny dialogues and moments, some actually made me laugh really hard.
Utopia sends a message through entertainment. It presents what is happening in our country and how we are reacting or not reacting to those unfortunate events. The film’s surprising depth and emotional turn out for its characters in the end is as satisfying as it is compelling. It leaves a sad but hopeful note for the audience that’s hard to dismiss.
With more time and budget, writer and director Dustin Celestino could have made Utopia storytelling smoother and cleaner but the final product is worth a look more than once.
4 OUT OF 5 STARS
‘Utopia’ is now showing in select cinemas as part of the Cinema One Originals Film Festival 2019. Rated R-13 by the MTRCB.