'Across the Crescent Moon' review: Never-ending pain and drama
In the middle of Baby Nebrida's Across the Crescent Moon, a woman starts lamenting, "I'm so tired of this drama! I'm so tired of this never-ending pain!"
It was only at that exact moment within a movie composed of two hours and several minutes' worth of awful crying, grating fury, empty joy, and unabashed backscratching of the current administration that a character became so very relatable. I, too, became so tired of the drama and never-ending pain.
But enough about me and my irrelevant emotions about the time wasted on the movie.
Let's concentrate on the movie and all it offers.
So before the woman (Alex Godinez) echoed the emotions I woefully repressed for some time because there's a certain level of decorum one has to have while seated in a movie theater, a lot had already happened. Let me recount briefly.
The woman got into an argument with her mother over marrying a Muslim man (Matteo Guidicelli). That Muslim man had just survived a car chase through exploding bridges and depressed barrios. They just learned that they were about to be parents. All of those events are of course related to the movie's tortured narrative of the triumph of love over a country plagued by criminality and religious intolerance.
Also, the father (Christopher de Leon) of the Muslim man just dove into the beautiful seas of Mindanao for some rare pearl he sells to a local merchant. The mother (Dina Bonnevie) of the woman just celebrated her 50th birthday in a room full of overdressed fogeys who spent most of the night gossiping and square dancing. Now, all of those events are completely pointless, except that they pronounce a stark difference in culture to the point of puffery and comicality.
Despicable and unentertaining
Across the Crescent Moon doesn't even bother to be entertaining.
Nebrida assembles scenes without tension and urgency. A lot of the supposedly involving drama is deflated by bland scripting and confused performances. The action sequences are defined not by the quality of the stunts and the logic of movement, of the elegance in shaping cause and effect to create an illusion of fierce and exciting activity, but by a bombardment of noise and needless visual gimmickry.
Everything is unreasonably lousy.
The movie is ridiculously paced, with the script every so often getting distracted by insignificant elements, whether it be a sponsor whose product needs to be seen prominently in the movie or a narrative thread that feels more like an afterthought than something planned right from the start or the propaganda it blatantly espouses.
Simply put, Across the Crescent Moon is a gross celebration of the stereotypes that divide people. Its manufactured advocacy through the unconvincing narrative of love between a Catholic girl and a Muslim boy against all excessively portrayed odds only tempers the dangerous cluelessness.
The movie is just an absolute struggle to sit through. It is not only noxious to the senses. Its brandished message of unity only if the dominant faith is placated because it is proven wrong through random heroic deeds is one that is misguided and misplaced.
It's just torturously despicable. – Rappler.com
Francis Joseph Cruz litigates for a living and writes about cinema for fun. The first Filipino movie he saw in the theaters was Carlo J. Caparas' Tirad Pass. Since then, he's been on a mission to find better memories with Philippine cinema.