Keep up-to-date on your favourite artists and movies, track gig and release dates, and join in the conversation.
SEARCH RESULTS FOR
25 years ago, 'Clerks' was the low-budget comedy that took the world by storm. Click here to relive it in Jess' retrospective review!x
review, Alpha: The Right to Kill, Alpha:, The, Right, to, Kill, film, movie, latest movies, new movie, movie ratings, current movie reviews, latest films, recent movies, current movies, movie critics, new movie reviews, latest movie reviews, latest movies out, the latest movies, review film, latest cinema releases, Australian reviews, cinema, cinema reviews, Allen Dizon, Elijah Filamor, Baron Geisler, Angela Cortez, Brillante Mendoza, Crime, Drama, Thriller

ALPHA: THE RIGHT TO KILL

★★★

A GRITTY, VIVIDLY REALISTIC GLIMPSE AT PHILIPPINE'S "WAR ON DRUGS"

SYDNEY FILM FESTIVAL REVIEW
LATEST REVIEWS
By Charlie David Page
5th June 2019

In case you're not up with your Philippines politics, here's a quick summary: the country's president, Rodrigo Duterte, was voted in for his no-nonsense approach to tackling the country's rampant drug problem. However, after almost three years in power, his heavy-handed tactic has been to permit the killing of both drug dealers and users by police - a "war on drugs" that has taken anywhere between 5,000 and 20,000 lives. What was originally perceived by Filipinos as decisive action for a long-stagnant problem soon turned to fear, as people caught consuming alcohol or smoking cigarettes in public also suffered the same fate. Slammed by foreign governments and international human rights agencies, Duterte's placement is now more of a dictatorship than presidency. His latest appearance in international headlines, just days ago, was his claim that he "cured" himself from being gay - a bold claim in a country with both a prominent Christian following and LGBT population.

Having experienced the country myself just 12 months ago, I can attest that this is a real, serious issue in Philippines. Police are plentiful throughout Manila, both seen in the streets and undercover trying to entrap potential buyers. Automatic weapon-armed security adorn every building, shopping centre and 7-Eleven store, sometimes outnumbering the customers. While sentiment has moved away from Duterte, mid-term election results still showed a swing towards his allies - terrifying considering Duterte still has another three of his six-year term as president ahead of him, and even without the possibility of re-election may still be the puppet-master behind the country's new leader.

'ALPHA, THE RIGHT TO KILL' TRAILER

No, SWITCH hasn't started covering political affairs, but it's all important information for the new Filipino film 'Alpha: The Right to Kill'. Although a dramatisation, it covers closely the events that have escalated in the country in the past three years. We follow Sergeant Moises Espino (Allen Dizon, a famous actor locally, particularly known for his soft-porn roles in his early career), an officer assigned to cracking down on drugs in Manila. Working on a sting with other departments, he's primarily there to coordinate the movements of the alpha Elijah (Elijah Filamor), who purchases the drugs as evidence before the SWAT team moves in, killing 10 people. Once the operation goes down, we learn that Espino and Elijah are dirty, with Elijah grabbing a backpack full of drugs to sell in the confusion of the bust. However, when the Chief of Police (Apollo Abraham) realises this vital piece of evidence has gone missing, he launches a manhunt to track down the culprit. What lengths will Espino go to to ensure he's not found out?

This is a brutal and gritty drama looking at two major issues in Philippines - drugs and police corruption. There's also comments on the extremes of social class in the country - Espino is towards the top of the food chain, with a nice house for his wife and children to live in, while Elijah lives in the slums, sleeping in a place that's more a trash heap than a home. Espino also gets the lion's share of profits from the sale of drugs - around 100,000 Philippine pesos (or around AU$2,800) - while Elijah receives just a few thousand pesos, barely enough to buy nappies and baby formula for his newborn.

This is a brutal and gritty drama looking at two major issues in Philippines - drugs and police corruption.

The film is directed by Brillante Mendoza ('Ma' Rosa', 'Lola', 'Kinatay', 'The Womb'), an internationally-renowned Filipino director whose films are typically flops in his home country, lacking the over-the-top comedy or romance most popular in films produced locally. With 51 directorial award wins and past films screened at Cannes, Berlin, Venice, Munich, San Sebastián and Sydney Film Festivals, he's a filmmaker with an impressive track record, and not afraid to feature heavy-hitting subject matter. Given his country's leadership, Mendoza bravely presents the circumstances with a vivid realism, handheld cinematography in the fold, with grainy nighttime footage peeking at what happens on the streets under the cover of darkness.

Brillante Mendoza's objective is to shine a light on the problem currently gripping his country - a leader out of control, willing to stop at nothing to achieve his mission. By its conclusion, it's clear he also doesn't believe this is the way forward, and that thousands of deaths won't change the situation. While there are some problems with the script's pacing and assumed knowledge, 'Alpha: The Right to Kill' is using its craft to send a very specific message - making this one of the most important films you could currently take in.

FAST FACTS
RELEASE DATE: TBA
RUN TIME: 1h 34m
CAST: Allen Dizon
Elijah Filamor
Baron Geisler
Angela Cortez
DIRECTOR: Brillante Mendoza
WRITER: Troy Espiritu
PRODUCER: Carlo Valenzona
SCORE: Diwa De Leon
TOP-RATED REVIEWS
Looking for more Sydney Film Festival reviews? Click here to check out our collection of this year's highlights.
After the Wedding - Michelle Williams & Julianne Moore's glamorous outing
TRENDINGWIN AFTER THE WEDDINGMichelle Williams & Julianne Moore's glamorous outing
Promised - Love is never perfectly arranged
TRENDINGWIN PROMISEDLove is never perfectly arranged
Balloon - Courage takes flight
TRENDINGWIN BALLOONCourage takes flight
The Keeper - True story of WWII prisoner to soccer superstar
TRENDINGWIN THE KEEPERTrue story of WWII prisoner to soccer superstar
British Film Festival 2019 - Your ticket to the hottest festival in town
TRENDINGWIN BRITISH FILM FESTIVAL 2019Your ticket to the hottest festival in town
Promised - Flashback to Australian-Italians in the 1970s is a bland affair
TRENDINGPROMISEDFlashback to Australian-Italians in the 1970s is a bland affair
Little Monsters - No brains, all heart
TRENDINGLITTLE MONSTERSNo brains, all heart
Ride Like a Girl - Melbourne Cup biopic plagued by race's questionable history
TRENDINGRIDE LIKE A GIRLMelbourne Cup biopic plagued by race's questionable history
Locusts - A low-key, low-down thriller
TRENDINGLOCUSTSA low-key, low-down thriller
Basic Instinct - 25 years of the erotic thriller
TRENDINGBASIC INSTINCT25 years of the erotic thriller
NT Live: Fleabag - The birth of Phoebe Waller-Bridge's masterwork
TRENDINGNT LIVE: FLEABAGThe birth of Phoebe Waller-Bridge's masterwork
Granny Poetry Club - Growing old, friendship, learning and poetry
TRENDINGGRANNY POETRY CLUBGrowing old, friendship, learning and poetry
Revisiting 'Dark City' 20 years later - The most underrated and influential sci-fi film ever?
TRENDINGREVISITING 'DARK CITY' 20 YEARS LATERThe most underrated and influential sci-fi film ever?
Pavarotti - A perfunctory portrait of an opera superstar
TRENDINGPAVAROTTIA perfunctory portrait of an opera superstar
The Final Quarter - Tackling a shameful chapter in AFL history
TRENDINGTHE FINAL QUARTERTackling a shameful chapter in AFL history
School of Seduction - Husband hunting in Russia
TRENDINGSCHOOL OF SEDUCTIONHusband hunting in Russia
2040 - A hopeful look into our environmental future
TRENDING2040A hopeful look into our environmental future
Five Feet Apart - Breathing borrowed air and clichés
TRENDINGFIVE FEET APARTBreathing borrowed air and clichés
Double Lover - Softcore pornography for cinephiles
TRENDINGDOUBLE LOVERSoftcore pornography for cinephiles
Lion - A raw and powerful journey of identity
TRENDINGLIONA raw and powerful journey of identity
© 2011 - 2019 midnightproductions
All rights reserved

Support SWITCH | Disclaimer | Contact Us