Honor Thy Father presents a world where morals are conveniently forsaken in service of “higher” virtues. There is nothing but scumbags and hypocrites. That is the reality in which Honor Thy Father, Erik Matti’s latest film, operates in. Its characters con their neighbors for the quick accumulation of wealth, justifying their actions through some pretense of moral value. You might think this is another simplistic parable about Christian virtues but, trust me, it isn’t. It is a haunting film awash in blood and moral grey.
The film is about a family that lives in Baguio City. The husband, Edgar (John Lloyd Cruz), and the wife, Kaye (Meryll Soriano), are heavily involved in a Ponzi scheme. The scam quickly unravels and the couple find themselves in great danger when one of their victims kidnaps their daughter Angel (Krystal Brimner).
Characters go through more morally complex problems than On The Job, Matti’s 2013 film. No character in that film will disagree that political corruption is bad per se. It’s just that people accept corruption as it is so deeply entrenched in our society and culture. With Honor Thy Father, everyone more or less thinks they have the moral high ground.
This does not mean, however, that the audience is just some external entity, condemning the characters’ plights while clucking their tongues. We actually empathize with them in spite of their bleak outlook and despicable acts. After all, can we say for sure that we would not resort to such evil in times of desperation?
All this is made possible by the incredible production team. John Lloyd Cruz gives the performance of a lifetime. Tirso Cruz III and Meryl Soriano complement him with amazing turns. Michiko Yamamoto’s deft hand pens another incredible screenplay. Top this with Erik Matti’s direction and you have cinema gold.
While Honor Thy Father may just be a blip on the MMFF radar, it is definitely one of the best films of the year. It will likely be ignored by the general public despite the online uproar. That’s fine, however, as the film has done its job. Hopefully, this review, like many others, will convince you to give Edgar a chance.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars