All's Fair in Love and War

Boys Talk
I would rather not get furious about the film as this would be a victory for the film. I suppose the film’s genre is not merely neo-noir style. Rather, a hybrid of neo-noir and neo-realism – a silly combination. I remember way back in college, we had the usual drinking sessions. We would mix up alcoholic drinks. We were curious of the experience. We weren’t after the delightful flavor. In place of such, we would concoct a monster mix of stupidity. Obviously it tastes awful. And the aftermath is sickening! Torotot has a similar effect.

Right after a few sequences of the film, its neo-noir style becomes evident. Usually in noir films, it has a convoluted storyline, dark contrast and mostly cynical characters. Torotot is told in flashbacks and flash-forwards, so I would rather convey the film in simple descriptions. Filled with existential bitterness, Gabby (Baron Geisler) is frantic on the sudden coldness his wife Marie (Maui Taylor) demonstrates. Marie occasionally resists having sex with him. Instead, she diverts all her time to work as a veterinarian, and caring for her pet dogs. Then we are introduced to Darwin (Andrew Schimmer), a dog trainer. Gabby is hastily jealous of him. One night, they had an argument which resulted to Marie leaving the house. She stayed at Darwin’s pad. Gabby turns to his best bud Leo (Yul Servo) to ease his frustration and temper. Fast-forward – when Leo informed Gabby that he saw Darwin and Marie together, he spied at Marie’s whereabouts and caught them having raunchy sex in Marie’s clinic. “Destierro” as its alternate title suggests its legal repercussion.

Leo on the other hand had a similar fate with Gabby. His spouse Rita (Precious Adona) is an ordinary housewife. Rita is despondent due to her husband’s stumpy libido. As Marie’s friend, she suggested Rita to do something exciting which she promptly ignores. Things changed after Marie’s death. Then, Leo notices that his wife is hooked with her prayer services. Rita is having smutty sexual encounters with Gaston (Anton Bernardo), a fellow brother in faith. Leo had known the whole thing from Gaston’s wife (Maricar de Mesa). He schemes on doing the same thing Gabby did.

The irony in the film is well presented - at least the idea of it. But when it tackled the legal system, the story becomes an entire mess. Legal system based on reality must be accurate up to the smallest detail. Even the disintegration of the Philippine Legal System was not credibly assessed in the film. The pessimistic view of the real legal system is not entirely chauvinistic as what the film has shown. If it is noirish, then it’s fine. But in reality, our legal system has other factors of its flawed conduct; it is also corrupt, biased and defensive. In the film, it is apparent that Marie came from a well-off family and yet there is no defense council on her behalf? The entire case just went through in a couple of days or weeks. If the film would not want to be indicted of imprecision then it might not have tackled the legalities of such a crime.

The characters Gabby and Leo were the total losers in this film. While Marie and Rita were having the usual girl-talk, they would counteract the previous claims of their husbands’ machismo; Gabby has a thumb size dick and Leo suffers from pre-mature ejaculation. It is also humorous that the guys have their freaky boy-talk while pampering in a facial salon and having a hair color treatment. Rita’s fetishes are riveting; she satisfies her sexual frustration by damping frozen bacon all over her body and sniffing salaciously on soiled briefs. These were just a few aspects of the film that is quite redeeming (if not utterly sick). The last part of the film entirely collapses. The plot was too manipulative. If it’s heading there, it will go smoothly. But it did not transcend in the film, to my dismay.

Sometimes, what men lack in actuality, they make up for in influence. Torotot is a story of incongruity that needs to be rehashed. It failed to neatly replicate the legalities being presented. It might consider that not all tabloid headlines are fascinating story material. Sometimes, it’s adequate to show the irony or demonstrate a synesthetic metaphor. Otherwise, it is simpler to go back to fiction.
Charlie Koon's Rating:

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