Review by Brylle Fajardo
Patay na si Hesus is a satirical social comedy that effectively sheds light on issues that remain prevalent with the Filipino culture, while simultaneously being able to wildly invoke laughter to the audience. As soon as Iyay, a single mother, learns of her estranged husband’s passing, she immediately calls up her children for a ride from Cebu to Dumaguete to pay respect and attend her husband’s wake. They, along the way, would uncover and resolve the grudges and troubles among them for a one hell of a delightful ride. While its simplistic filmmaking certainly isn’t its strongest suit, it doesn’t hinder the substantial material within the film that gets evocatively addressed.
Victor Villanueva’s road movie thrives the most when it utilizes humor without being afraid to pinpoint the irony and flaws resting in Filipino culture. Inevitably, some comedy movie tropes still pop up, as it isn’t devoid of senseless (yet still hilarious) gags here and there. It hits and misses whenever it makes use of over-the-top humor, as some of its comedic material just comes off as pretentious, so as to fail to contribute to the storyline. Stellar performances are delivered from its remarkable cast, as Jaclyn Jose portrays her role tremendously well as Iyay, a heavily-burdened mother in need of coming to terms with her unresolved familial issues. Chai Fonacier pulls off a role that is very much out of her comfort zone, as a lesbian who finds herself in an uneasy, and troubled relationship.
Vincent Viado becomes the film’s heart that beats so sensibly – giving a genuine and pure portrayal of a differently abled man longing for individuality just as Melde Montanez takes on the hilarious role of a frustrated graduate who’s had a streak in failing the board exams. His undeniably great depiction makes him appear to be a highly-experienced actor despite being a neophyte. Character development is well-highlighted, with each of its main characters given an arc and a conflict to resolve. Such correspondence makes it convenient to connect and love these characters what with their colorful depictions getting us involved in the oft ridiculous ways. With its fusion of an excellent screenplay and brave direction, Patay na si Hesus wins big in its attempt to be a fun-filled yet culturally-essential ride.
* Patay na si Hesus is distributed by Columbia Pictures Philippines, and is an official entry to Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino 2017, which will be held from August 16 to 22 in Philippine cinemas nationwide.