BUBOG, an Arlyn Dela Cruz film, has successfully adopted its theme from the hottest current event today. It is so far the closest interpretation of realities through a motion picture that Philippines is experiencing under President Rody Duterte’s wing.

This Blank Pages Production’ s film discusses both positive and negative effects of the current government’s approach in eliminating drug problem in the country. It tries to portray the lives of the War on Drugs victims and gives its viewers a glimpse of a drug users’ lifestyle and how their lives are connected to much stronger forces in the society who are supposedly the leaders and enforcers of the constitution through drug trading.

A perfect opportunity for Bubog to influence one’s mind to make a stand whether the government has failed, or will fail, or will win, or have won the war on drugs.

The theme of this R-18 film is timely and that makes it powerful. The nation is under a kind of war waged by the government against narco-politics and a war initiated by the drug lords themselves against the people working under the drug trade so the latter would be silenced and the former will be safe from implications. Bubog comes to life re-enacting some popular news stories today. A perfect opportunity for Bubog to influence one’s mind to make a stand whether the government has failed, or will fail, or will win, or have won the war on drugs.

Actress Elizabeth Oropesa greets dabawenyos who attended the Bubog Film Premiere Night at SM Lanang, Davao City

Unfortunately, the message didn’t really go through inside my head after watching it. While Bubog succeeds in its mission to portray significant events, it fails to tie all the characters, events, and emotions in a single plot. Some scenes become irrelevant when other set of characters appear all of a sudden from nowhere. There are set of roles being established and dragged for several minutes but they are not really the ones carrying the flavor of the cake but just merely an icing. And with that, it’s painful to connect the dots considering that some actors are not so familiar.

The twist of the broadcaster’s life supposedly opens the climax of the film but because I was following several characters, it went downhill and killed the excitement. Some dragging moments will only give the viewers to predict the next frame. I think, that kind of happy-moments-of-the-characters-then-suddenly-a-killer-appears formula in cinematography and story telling does not work nowadays for this kind of film that is inspired from events like Extra Judicial Killing issue. Why? Because people know it already. The headlines about it are everywhere almost everyday.  For that, Bubog becomes powerless. The feeling was like, ‘we’ve seen that scenes almost every night on TV Patrol’ so I was waiting for something special in Bubog that will set apart from reality.

Nevertheless, the acting of the actors in this film are commendable. Not bad for those who are cast for the first time. Direk Arlyn has successfully brought the best out of her actors here. Sigaw kung sigaw. Iyak kung iyak. Galit kung galit. Putang ina, kagaling nila.

Before we pack up, this film still deserves to shine on the big screens. The soul of this film is what matters most. I wish the production a good luck as they will conquer the theatres beginning next week. I am still looking forward for more of Direk Arlyn. She is interesting and brave enough to pull the trigger to bring this film into life.

Despite of the flaws, this does not stink as Baron’s urine. At the end of the day, we as Filipinos cannot escape the fact that we are part of this WAR AS VICTIMS AND WARRIORS.