The Woman and the Gun (original title Babae at Baril), directed by Rae Red, tells the story of a working-class woman (played by Janine Gutierrez), abused in every possible way until she finds a gun.
The woman and the gun’s plot could not be more straightforward despite its peculiarity of being divided into two parts.
Starting with the more compelling, hooking you up straight away, then interrupting it in a cliffhanger. The story, then, makes a detour before getting back to conclude the initial plotline.
Despite it making sense and having a lot of amazing elements in this second phase of the movie, this interruption, and change of focus affect the flow of the film.
But let’s break everything down.
The movie begins with this young woman working in a department store. The boss demands tidiness and excellent behavior from the workers but doesn’t offer minimal working conditions in return.
The employees’ locker room is dark, humid, and too narrow. She is sexually harassed by customers and coworkers and verbally abused by the boss. After taking all that s**t, her salary isn’t enough to even pay the bills.
On top of the awful conditions she faces as a worker, she suffers from gender-related issues for being a woman. We see things from sexual harassment, being most blatant, to subtle forms such as disregarding her presence.
The nameless girl is not the only one suffering violence. Her roommate (played by Bie Ruaro) is a victim o physical abuse from her boyfriend (played by Jess Mendoza).
The protagonist starts as a docile and shy girl, then is driven to near madness, picking up a random gun and threatening people with the possibility of even hurting innocents.
We can see the story is getting to the ending point, but we are still halfway through the film. From then on, we accompany the gun from its inception until it gets to Janine’s character’s hand.
The gun goes from one individual to the other, telling their story and exposing several ills from society. There are political killings, police brutality, corruption, gang activity, sexual abuse of children.
The final act concludes the woman’s journey. It was a satisfactory ending to me.
As we can see from this plot catch-up, there’s not much space for humor. I can’t recall any laugh I gave at all.
The movie is one heavy blow after another, pure darkness and suffering, even containing some disturbing and uncomfortable scenes.
It’s a well-detailed film, as well. I only watched once and could observe some of the details added to the film. For example, always pay attention to what’s on the television.
Another thing I have to praise is the dialogue, which often got me hooked. My favorite was a long one between Miguel (played by JC Santos) and Jun (played by Elijah Canlas).
Since we’re talking about this scene, it’s time to praise the excellent acting of this movie. I loved these two I just mentioned, JC Santos and Elijah Canlas. Even though they don’t have much screen time, they gave it all with what they had.
Another highlight was Sky Teotico, who plays Steph. His storyline was the one that moved me the most besides the main one, and Sky’s performance was flawless.
By the way, I only realized that he was transgender (both the actor and character) when I was checking some details and noticed the bandages to bind the chest. In my first watch, I overlooked it.
It shows how thorough Rae Red was with the topics and details of the film.
The best performance was by Janine Gutierrez. Just perfection.
She plays both moments of her character with precision, making a flawless transition between them. She has few words, most of the acting is done through mannerisms and facial expressions.
She transmits many emotions, like sadness, fear, and hatred, every single one with great intensity.
It was an unforgettable performance for me. It’s a shame that it’ll never get the same recognition as any mediocre performance in the US or Europe, especially Hollywood, obviously.
Lastly, a shot out to Raffy Tejada, who plays the landlord. I’ve seen more Filipino movies than the average bum, but I’m no specialist, so he was the only actor I knew before watching The Woman and the Gun. I like him.
The cinematography is one of the most underwhelming things of the movie, not because it’s bad, but because of how good everything else is. It’s average, with some good-looking shots, but nothing that really stands out.
The locations are perfect for the film, it really puts you in the situation with the characters. The place’s poverty was marvelously portrayed in the film, and even though I’m in another continent, that I was never out of, this poverty was familiar to me.
The score was really noticeable and peculiar, which is something very rare, as I often talk about on the channel. I just don’t think it was fitting for this movie.
The score is more upbeat than the film’s mood was asking for. I think something darker and downbeat would suit it much better.
The Woman and the Gun is just f__king amazing, it makes me want to write a book about it. It has some small problems, but still the closest I get to a 10 in quite a while. I’ll give The Woman and the Gun 9 Moons!
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