Goyo: The Boy General Opens in NYC Today

Posted by Greg on Sep 21, 2018 in Movies |

Today in New York City, a big budget historical biopic from the Philippines opens in theaters. Goyo: The Boy General focuses on the latter months in the life of Gregorio del Pilar, one of the youngest generals of the Philippine Revolution and the Philippine-American War.

del Pilar is portrayed by Paulo Avelino who absolutely commands the role. Every scene he’s in is worth watching. Avelino played del Pilar in the surprise blockbuster hit Heneral Luna, which chronicled the Phillipine Revolutionary General Antonio Luna.

The film opens with the caveat: “This film is historical fact with fictional elements to serve a narrative theme” and in an industry where so much of history gets overlooked to serve a narrative, it is quite refreshing to see a filmmaker be so transparent.

del Pilar was in no way an embraceable guy. A hero at age 23 and the preferred general of president Emilio Aguinaldo, he admired Napoleon and was prone to ruthless tactics often favoring blind nationalism over morality. del Pilar was also arrogant and prone to dalliances with women.

Much of the film focuses on his admiration for the stunning beauty Remedios Nable José (Gwen Zamora) and their playful courtship while at times cliched serves the film well. Director Jerrold Tarog is only 41 but has made more than 30 films and his skill is apparent in nearly every fame.

From start to finish, the film is beautifully shot with rich colors, a moving score and a sprawling and sweeping verve that marries well with the military theme. Reminiscent of Indochine, Gods and Generals and Steven Soderbergh’s Che, there’s a gripping sense of authenticity that dominates nearly every frame.

The film’s denoument takes place in the Battle of Tirado Pass, an ill-fated endeavor with mass casualties and a sobering conclusion. As gripping as the scenes are, the American cast that portrays the American soldiers underwhelms and almost sucks the life out of the film. For a film that had been so taut, tense and captivating for 100 minutes, the final 20 undermine a film that had few, if any, errors.

Goyo: The Boy General was not only directed by Tarog but he also wrote the film, edited and scored the soundtrack. The very fact fact that Tarog assumed all those roles while still making such a crisp film is quite a triumph. For that and that alone it’s worth seeing, but Avelino’s performance is well worth the price of admission.

Goyo: The Boy General debuts at the AMC Kips Bay 15 and the AMC Lowes Jersey Gardens 20 today. Here’s hoping it expands to more screens in due time.


You must be logged in to post a comment.

Copyright © 2021 Step Inside This House All rights reserved. Theme by Laptop Geek.