The reviews for ABS-CBN Star Cinema’s latest offering on its 20th year, The Trial, are in, and the verdict is a victory for Philippine cinema.
“A festival-worthy piece that may usher in a new age for mainstream Philippine cinema,” raved Julia Allende of pep.ph.
“An emotionally involving legal drama presented with sufficient flair and built around the crackerjack portrayal of John Lloyd Cruz as a 27-year-old simpleton, Ronald Jimenez Jr., accused of raping his tutor, Bessie Buenaventura (Jessy Mendiola),” praised Rito P. Asilo of Inquirer.net.
“At a time when romantic and family comedies are playing jump ball with the box-office crown, Star Cinema and director Chito Roño make a surprising gamble on a film that’s neither one nor the other… it’s a promising step towards seeing more films in the name of originality, regardless of genre,” said Zig Marasigan in his review on rappler.com.
Indeed, with a stream of record-breaking box office triumphs of romantic and family comedies and love triangles, the country’s premier film outfit braved the road less travelled with a compelling court drama that involves a complicated and odd nexus of characters and tackles the sensitive topics of rape, the mentally handicapped, gay parents, marital problems, social media abuse and the country’s justice system.
To pull this off, it takes the caliber of award-winning director Chito Roño, the story and screenplay by Ricky Lee, Kriz G. Gazmen and Enrico Santos, and the sterling cast led by John Lloyd Cruz, Gretchen Barretto, Richard Gomez, Enrique Gil, Jessy Mendiola, Sylvia Sanchez, Vivian Velez, Vincent De Jesus, Benjamin Alves, among others.
“After its opening in the Philippines, The Trial is making critics think, triggering moviegoers to talk and discuss the film, and creating buzz for film awards. They say fall is the season in North America to bring in the good stuff, the movies of serious value and content. As part of TFC’s and Star Cinema’s 20th anniversary, TFC@theMovies couldn’t have chosen a better film offering to kick off its fall movie season here with The Trial. It is simply a must-see,” said ABS-CBN Global Head of Theatricals John-D Lazatin.
A Curious Case: Flaws and Secrets
The marriage of lawyer JULIAN (Richard Gomez) and developmental psychologist AMANDA (Gretchen Barretto) is already crumbling. Aggravated by the tragic death of their only son, their relationship now is beyond any chance of mending.
That chance came when one day Julian and Amanda encounter a curious case. RONALD (John Lloyd Cruz), a person with intellectual disability, is accused of raping the niece of a renowned university head, BESSY (Jessy Mendiola). The already curious case becomes more intriguing when they learn that Ronald was their son’s best buddy.
Amanda is hired by Bessy’s camp to look into Ronald to prove his lucidity and intention – hence, implicating him of the crime. However, as she tries to get to know him, the truth about Ronald and his relationship with Bessy and her deceased son all unfold before her. Believing that Ronald could have not committed the crime, she withdraws from Bessy’s camp and decides to help him.
Working together, Julian and Amanda exert every possible effort to acquit Ronald of the crime. Little do they know that his case would mean facing the truth about their broken family – something they have forever lied to themselves about.
“Memorable,” said ABS-CBN North America Managing Director Olivia De Jesus. “The Trial is a film that reels you in as a moviegoer and makes you ask what would you have done if you were one of the characters? In the end, it will make you look into yourself, your own relationships with your family and with people seen as ‘different’ by society.”
For the screening dates and list of theaters in US and Canada, visit www.tfc-usa.com/atthemovies.