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In: English and Literature

Submitted By chiinggomez
Words 763
Pages 4
Tuesday, December 25, 2012
El Presidente (Mark Meily)


After last year's surprisingly good period gangster film that is "Manila Kingpin: The Asiong Salonga Story", here is E.R. Ejercito again with an Emilio Aguinaldo biopic entitled "El Presidente", an infinitely trickier film to pull off, scope and exposition-wise. If E.R.'s previous film focuses mainly on gangland altruism, "El Presidente" is all about patriotic resilience amidst imperialism, and it definitely shows on the film's abundant dose of sentimentalism. And if E.R. seems tailor-made for the role of Asiong Salonga (after all, he has already played Asiong in the '90s film "Asiong Salonga: Hari ng Tondo"), he seems feverishly out of place in this whole historical drama, especially when he's surrounded by character actors that are ten times more talented than him. Now do not get me wrong, when I think of a more suitable and relatively bankable actor to play Aguinaldo, I can't really think of anyone save for Ejercito himself (as of the moment, that is). Except for his bulldog-ish cheeks, Ejercito nicely fits the title role specifically because of his relative mass appeal and sense of authority. But then, somebody has seemingly forgotten to remind him that "El Presidente" is, after all, a film and not a theatrical play. With his repetitively oratorical hand gestures and monotonous line deliveries, despite of the stature of the person he's playing, E.R. is easily dwarfed by his co-actors in the film, specifically Cesar Montano, whose brief but strong turn as Andres Bonifacio is a mild cause for celebration. Except for his hair that's anachronistically gelled upwards, Cesar Montano's Bonifacio is so well-portrayed that I wouldn't bother for him to have more screen time than Aguinaldo himself. Granted, "El Presidente" is quite sophisticated with its cinematography and action...

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