There are so many good reasons why one should watch Ang Lihim ni Antonio (Antonio's Secret). Firstly, it's from the makers of Ang Lalaki sa Parola, which is one of the best pink films I've seen so far. The trailer is also very inviting, enticing its audience to take a peek into the secret life of the protagonist. Most importantly, as a gay man, we all had secrets just like Antonio, which might have led to our choice of sexuality and lifestyle.
PREACHY AND PROMOTING TOURISM?
Overall, the movie was good. Not great. I know a lot of people would disagree with me but I have a few reasons not to like it as much as I liked, say, Roxxxanne or Ang Lalaki sa Parola.
For one, I thought the movie was too preachy. There were lectures from Antonio's mom about the country's law on Male Rape/Abuse. While it is a good thing to inform the audience of the law's existence, the way it was shown in the film was, well, too preachy, like it was Hilary Clinton telling us that this law does exist.
I also suspect that the movie might have gotten its funds from the Marikina government. What's up with the multiple scenes showing [more like promoting] the city's bicycle lanes, the Riverbanks, etc? I remember a few years ago, Manila under Mayor Lito Atienza sponsored the Manila Film Festival entries in exchange of boosting the city's tourism by featuring some of the tourist spots in their films. Did the same thing happen here?
While I admire what the Marikina government has done to its city, I don't know why the director had to shoot scenes showing the city's projects such as the bicycle lanes and the public restrooms.
The story was very good. I applaud the writer/s for coming up with such concept.
The execution, however was, well, not done in good taste. It doesn't leave room for imagination as it showed too much skin [and meat if I may add] .. at least in my opinion. Some of the sex scenes were unnecessary and the cock shots were, well, too pornographic than artistic.
I prefer the sex scene in Roxxxanne where Jay Aquitania was invited to have coffee and the next scene shows a cup of coffee moving while Jay was humping the old guy in bed. That's what I call creative.
There is nothing bad I can say about the actors in the movie. Sharmaine Buencamino was excellent as usual. Even Provoq member Josh Ivan Morales had a surprise performance portraying the role of the horny and good-for-nothing uncle who raped Antonio. Jiro Manio was such a comic relief. And ofcourse, Kenjie Garcia was the star of the movie. He acted without any degree of hesitation and shyness.
MOVIE ATTACKS ITSELF
Many of the bloggers who've reviewed the movie said they didn't like the ennding. Same here. I think it would have been better if Uncle Jonbert was put in jail [instead of being killed in the end], therefore strenghtening the earlier premise that this film aims to educate people about the existence of the Male Rape/abuse law.
Also, the reporter scene is a recycled concept which should have fallen into the depths of oblivion.
Did you notice something when the attorney explained that 15-year-old Antonio is not going to jail because he is a minor? The scriptwriter should have been careful when he tried to deliver that message. If memory serves me right, the attorney said he's not going to jail and will JUST be placed under the care of the Department of Social and Welfare Services (DSWD). Nothing wrong with that but I felt that it could have been more effective if he said that the DSWD takes care of minors who were involved in crimes, instead of sending out a message that they're not going to hit the slammer just because they're young and stupid.
And there was a scene where Antonio's mother was explaining that any sexual involvement with a minor is considered rape under the constitution. While I do not know if this is accurate, how do you explain the use of a 15-year-old actor in a movie that involves a lot of sexual scenes, crotch-grabbing and male-to-male kissing? Is the movie attacking itself in the process? While it was purely acting, how do you think does a 15-year-old actor think of himself now after the scenes that he's done?
I guess the question is how old is Kenjie Garcia?
Despite its flaws, I still recommend that you watch Ang Lihim ni Antonio simply because I know that some time in the past, we all had similar experiences. We were all abused and used at one time. It's a good way to reflect and remind us of how much we've changed since it happened.
Related post: The Awful Truth