April 28th, 2013

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When a kidnapping goes wrong, a desperate father risks everything to save his daughter from the men who hold her captive.

Release Year: 2012

Rating: 7.4/10 (205 voted)

Director: Ron Morales

Family man Marlon Villar - a longtime chauffeur to corrupt Filipino politician Manuel Chango - is faced with an unthinkable predicament when he is ambushed while driving both his boss's and his own daughter home from school one afternoon. In the chaos of the kidnapping attempt, things go horribly awry and Marlon's daughter is taken and held for ransom instead. Desperate to save his daughter, Marlon must navigate the conflicting motives between the ruthless kidnappers, untrustworthy Chango and determined detectives eager to name him a suspect without letting on the wrong girl was taken hostage. As events spin wildly out of control, Marlon, Chango and their families are forced into a rapid downward spiral of deceit and betrayal that will leave no one innocent.

Taglines: A life for every lie.


Official Website: Official site

Release Date:

Filming Locations: Metro Manila, Philippines

Technical Specs


User Review

Kidnapping, but not Kid's Play

Rating: 8/10

Kidnapping has been on the rise and much more organized in the last two decades, especially in Latin America and the Caribbean. I personally have stories of close people being kidnapped in Haiti and Venezuela. Now we are hearing more of India and South Africa, but in 2010, according to the available statistics, the six countries in the world ranked highest for kidnapping for ransom where Colombia, Italy, Lebanon, Peru, the Philippines, and, perhaps surprisingly, the United States! Certainly slightly skewed by Phoenix, AZ, which has become the second kidnapping capital in the world after Mexico City, DF, the concern remains a global one nonetheless.

The topic is not new, but make for potential griping dramatic storyline. We had the effective "Ransom (1996)", the delectable "Gone Baby Gone (2007)" and the steadfast "Taken (2008)" which is set for a sequel this year. "Graceland (2012)" is a marvellous addition to the genre and is surely the best film yet on the topic. It is twisted and almost tedious, until a Usual Suspect-like quality is revealed in the script and sustained by the uncompromising direction.

The beginning and build-up is superb and shocking and the ending puts everything in equally appalling perspective. The middle part lags at times, with less action and suspense than its American counterparts, but instead explores themes of family, class, corruption, extortion, sexual behaviour, suspicion, sickness, trafficking, revenge, redemption, etc. with great wit and repartee.

The acting shines for the victims and the dutiful detective, although the kidnappers' casting may have been on purpose to portray less cunning and calculating individuals. The 84 running time keeps it relatively short and definitely not sweet, leaving you with an awkward after-taste and after-thought as you leave the theatre.

Philippines 2012 | 84 min | HD Tagalog & English language (English subtitles)

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