This movie was shown at The Projector as part of the 26th Singapore International Film Festival (SIFF). Thus, after the movie ended, the producers and directors were present for some Q and A, which made the movie more intimate.
Jamie Grey is a young boxer instigated by his father to cheat in order to win. After winning, they disposed of the gloves illegally, instead of leaving them at the ring as required by the rules. His opponent subsequently died from the injury and he was hauled up by the police for investigation. Feeling guilty, he visited the opponent’s wife, Davina, and was accused of rigging the gloves. This suspicion puts her in danger from Danny, the gang leader who was behind the cheating.
Jamie decided to save her and her son, by warning her and giving her money to run away but was treated with hostility. She disappeared the next morning after the rescue, and Jamie too decided to run away to his mother, only to be rejected. He then found his father severely beaten up. Feeling helpless, he gave himself up to the police and was jailed.
While I like the story line, the movie felt like it was filmed on a handheld camera – jerky and poor focus. Several of the shots were filmed very close-up, and we got a blur image before the shot sharpened. My companion and I suffered from sea-sickness throughout.
Filmed in Manila, the movie captured the essence of the city very well – jeepneys, wet slums and fake goods. The mix of English and Tagalog brought some realism to the American accented English spoken by Jamie and his father.
Chad McKinney, as Jamie, is a real life boxer who could vomit on demand (as revealed by the director). There are several close shots of him, especially the back of his shaven head as he walks or talks on the phone. His dialogue is kept to a minimum in order to show his expressions. Angeli Bayani, much loved in Illo Illo, reprises her understated performance as Davina.