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Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you part of our film history and culture for our History Month. Never thought I'd be writing another local film review but here it is. 😃
Wow. I finished watching this '90s film last night and I just love the details. All I can say is, Chin Chin Gutierrez was really an amazing actress. No doubt about it.
She became a nun after becoming an environmentalist since leaving the entertainment industry in 2010. Even so I still consider her as one of the best actresses ever. I was definitely blown away by her acting in this movie.
Don't worry I will not spoil it for you. Haha. Just read on and you will eventually know what it's about.
This 1996 movie was digitally remastered and restored in 2017. I wasn't able to watch it when it was first shown in theaters. Even when it was released in cinemas the 2nd time around, I also wasn't able to see it. 😅 I am not a fan of any of them except perhaps Chin Chin.
You might be wondering, how did I find out about Sa Aking Mga Kamay? Well, last night I was looking for a movie to watch. Checked my social media profile and then went to a page. There I saw the remastered trailer of this film and wow it looked really clear and seemed amazing. Who knew we had such a gem of a movie back in the '90s huh? 😃
Too bad I wasn't into movies back then. And of course I was not even old enough to watch R rated films the first time it was released. Haha. So be warned as this is not for kids and immature minds, okay? Don't watch it if you're less than 17 or 18 yrs old.
Overall, I can't really compare it to any local movies in the '90s. I wasn't as patriotic then as I am now. Also I was living in the province and was too young to care about what was going on in our society. I can tell you more about comics and anime on TV than movies from that decade. 😁
Watch the old trailer version below and let me know what you think. Unfortunately for my international readers it's not in English but feel free to still watch it.
Just by seeing this, it showed me how explosive a movie it is. I was surprised by the level of acting on both trailers that's why I checked on where I could watch it. Good thing I saw someone's comment mentioning it can be watched on iWantTFC (for free).
After finally seeing the full movie, I'm happy to say it doesn't have the usual distracting English subtitle hardsubbed in recent Filipino films. Hahaha. I love it. The old version can be watched on that website. I prefer to watch movies that way, no hardsubs is the best!
Curious about the the remastered version trailer? Here you go:
The remastered full length film probably has an English subtitle. You can do an online search for the international version with the title 'In My Own Hands'. (Literal translation is In My Hands but just stick to the title they used.) Or watch it online for just P100 ($2). (This is not a sponsored post but please support legitimate streaming sites of Filipino movies.😁)
I'd love to watch the restored version but I'm such a cheapskate that I wouldn't even spend money on it. 😅 But I'm sure if I do watch the new one I will be able to see every detail and appreciate everything more than I do now.
Anyway it doesn't matter if I watched the original, old grainy version. I still thoroughly enjoyed it.
Sa Aking Mga Kamay is a gem of a psychological thriller. The story is not your typical run of the mill Filipino movie. No wonder it is said it didn't become a blockbuster film back then. Such quality ones don't usually perform well in the box office around here. That's the sad thing, most people would rather watch foreign films than support or really create our own amazing ones. (Colonial mentality is waving. 👋)
Anyway remember this was shown back in 1996. During those days there was no CSI or other such US crime TV series yet. That's why while watching it I was fascinated by how the film presented the crime scenes and investigations. They didn't go in depth but you know, it's still notable for me.
Because it's a local film it really hits where it should. It tackles infidelity/adultery, abuse and childhood trauma. There is enough back story so viewers can even relate and possibly pity the bad guy. The story has depth and is quite complex enough to make you hang on to every scene.
To me, what makes it amazing is the details. Even if we already know the plot, we won't know how everything happened unless we watch it. Knowing how the criminal got to Camille and what happened next makes it worthwhile to see. It shows how twisted and sinister someone can be.
A few scenes even gave me some Die Hard and The Shining feels at some point. Oh boy what a ride. 👏 Felt like I was watching a horror movie sometimes. 😆
I'm not familiar with director Rory Quintos' work but I think he did a good job with this one. I love how most of it was executed. It evens shows sensitivity to the mental health of children. Plus points for that! 👏
From what I know of our movies and TV shows, this is clearly unlike those shown in those days. Well maybe even up to now.
It still has elements of the typical Filipino film centered on family and relationships but it's deeper than that. It's not cheesy, corny or melodramatic at all. 👍 The movie has that "in your face" thing going on. I like how we see human error blown up in style. It's not as gritty as On The Job (the best action/crime flick we have so far) but it is still worth watching.
The characters are definitely well developed and relatable. What else can we expect from Mr. Ricky Lee, one of the best screenwriters in the country. He is one of the three who wrote the script but the story is credited to another director/writer: Olivia M. Lamasan.
Aga Muhlach was perfect as a pretty boy serial killer but the dramatic acting chops really isn't his forte. I wasn't expecting much from him anyway. He was pretty scary as a bad guy though, I'll give him that. Working with top caliber actors looked like it surely inspired him to act better.
Of course the movie has it's flaws. The love/sex scenes are kinda funny at some point plus the matinee idol acting is really not my cup of tea. To be fair, he does have the charm and seduction part down pat.
I know it's not easy to act that's why I really commend character actors. They're amazing, can't praise Chin Chin Gutierrez enough. Haha. I expected nothing less from her. She is just the best among the rest. If I can give her an award she will get a hundred! 😍
I hope she didn't experience PTSD while making the movie. I mean the things her character went through. Oh my gosh. Being victimized by a murderer is no laughing matter. And then having to deal with the husband later on... Oh how stressful.
Christopher de Leon also showed what he's made of. Having already won several best actor awards at the time, I was not surprised at how natural he acted.
Except for the mentioned flaws, the acting is never over the top or half baked. Particularly notable was when things were heating up towards the end. Oh boy, the fight scenes, the action and suspense. 😮 Whew!
Love how they edited the intro scenes. It was cut to cut (cross-cut) and full of action! 😍 The movie doesn't have any computer graphics or special effects at all but I like how they used lighting to express the serial killer's thoughts. So yeah also be warned, if you have light sensitivity you might not enjoy some of the scenes.
Another thing I like was the use of a seemingly big old house plus the darkness or the play with light and shadows. The setting is just brilliant. Oh my I love the visual contrasts. It made the movie such a thriller indeed. Haha.
They also used symbolic things like the Cattleya flower. The set pieces are just tight you know. Everything in the movie is really integral to the story.
As for the music, I don't really have anything against it. Sound effects were just fine to me too.