Movie Review: Daybreak

Daybreak (2008)
Directed by Adolfo Alix Jr.
Starring Coco Martin, Paolo Rivero

This review is two years late. The movie was first shown February of 2008 but I wasn’t able to watch it on cinema, and I regret it. I first watched it last year. It is heartwarming, raw, straightforward, emotional, unpretentious, heartbreaking.

I’ve already watched it for four times but it still gives me all the same emotions I felt when I first watched it.

I think I’ll watch this again later when I arrive home.

The movie is a living proof of what may be a cliche, “simpler is always better.” The film only had two characters, a single setting, and a single-time narrative.

The movie is about two men, William and JP, who fell in love and has a relationship, but William has to end it because he’s married and has to leave for another country. William decides to meet with JP in his rest house in Tagaytay. Daybreak is simply a story of a man in love and finds the least painful way to end his relationship with another man, who is already emotionally attached to him.

The story is laid out with no pretentions, just pure, realistic emotions.

One cannot also fail to notice the brilliant cinematography. The exceptional shots of the Taal volcano, the pine trees, the foggy swimming pool, and the house add to the overall emotion conveyed by the film. The cinematography adds to the already heavy emotions being poured by the actors. This is one of the few Filipino films that you can consider art in every frame.

The actors, Coco Martin and Paolo Rivero, both give exceptional performances. Both characters are restrained and contained in their emotions and the house they stayed in is their safe, comfort zone. Martin’s portrayal is so real that everytime he tries to flirt with Rivero’s character, the audience will also be drawn and attracted to his character. Rivero, on the other hand, is successful in showing a loving but struggling character. My favorite scenes are the waltz scene, and the sex scene where Martin is crying.

Then there’s the soundtrack. Noel Cabangon’s Nag-iisa, wala ka na emphasized the building emotions and the way it was played during the waltz scene of the characters is just heartbreaking it gives you a hint that the movie won’t end on a happy note.

It’s amazing how a romantic location like Tagaytay bears a heartbreaking story of two people who fell in love under the wrong circumstances.

Daybreak is easily one of the best Filipino (independent) films in recent history. Simplicity at its best.


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