At a time when local suspense-thrillers are becoming scarce, Dukot comes in and takes its viewers’ emotions hostage along with the ups and downs experienced by each character.
Enrique Gil’s first team up with 1017P’s director Paul Soriano stripped him of the “pretty boy” tag in place of a dirty and beaten up look.
Enrique takes his acting game a notch higher by breathing life into Carlo Sandoval, the “black sheep” of the family who volunteers to be taken by hostage takers in place of his sister Cathy played by Shaina Magdayao. Veteran stars Ricky Davao and Bing Pimentel played Enrique and Shaina’s character’s doting parents.
The film establishes right from the get go that the team of hostage takers, which include Christopher de Leon, brothers Ping and Alex Medina, Dino Pastrano, and lone woman Bangs Garcia, as heavily armed men who are hungry for money for various personal reasons.
The stars’ performances were all gripping to the point that you would join in their remorse, pain, anger, and desperation. Enrique shone the brightest as he unleashed an unfamiliar side to himself—one that speaks mounds of anguish without even saying a word.
The Medina brothers have once again proven their acting mettle in playing the menacing hostage takers. Although he was on the “bad team,” Christopher was the film’s gray character whose loyalty and values became questionable to admirable as the film unfolded.
However, on top of the stars’ contributions, it was truly the film’s cinematography and script that took Dukot into a different level. This paved the way for parallelism to remain stark and symbolic all throughout. The most striking scene of the film where the parallelism became most apparent was when Enrique’s character recalled all the similar events that he experienced in his own family while peeking through a small hole inside the hostage takers’ safe house.
Does that display of parallelism make the actions of Ricky’s character, who is a corrupt government employee, and the heartless hostage takers’ actions valid or even equal? That is for the audience to determine.
But at the core, that very instant was reminiscent of what the film truly wants to convey. That, underneath the guns, goons, blood, and controversies, the film really is about the amount of value that you give your family and the extent that you’re willing to take to ensure their care and safety.
Another important aspect was how the film managed to stay true to its genre. Although there was occasional drama as Carlo’s capture tormented the Sandoval family, Dukot has maintained the suspense and thrill from start to finish.
But although the film has elicited screams and nods of approval, particularly in the “action” part, it was not totally seamless.
Since it touched on the sensitive subject of the rampant red tape in the customs bureau where “payolas” and under the table negotiations are what keeps the “system” oiled up and running, the film never really resolved that aspect in the story. There was even a deleted scene, which came out on one of the film’s trailers.
But, in the end, the good outweighs the (almost) bad in Dukot.
As it was inspired by true events, it leaves you reeling because of the various relevant issues that it has laid down for you to think of. There’s the relentless corruption in government agencies, the rampancy of violent crimes, and the unsettling pide between what many call as “modern families.”
Catch Dukot in theaters nationwide starting July 13.