No Mercy

Little Drummer Boy

Tambolista is a film directed by Adolfo Alix Jr. It is dark, immoral, and brutal. It’s as if the lids of hell where left open showering humanity with evil deeds and grave purposes.

The main character is Jason (Jiro Manio). He dreams of having his own drum set. He lives in a filthy town in Manila. Despite being deprived of wealth, he is eager to be a drummer and saves money to buy his own drum set. But a sudden turn of events cajoled him to lend the money to his brother Billy (Coco Martin). Billy needs money for his girlfriend’s abortion. Flash-forward - the other character is Paolo, (Sid Lucero) a friend of Billy. He is a homeless hustler, a petty criminal. He used to reside with an old matron. But things changed when the husband returned. He was forced to leave the house. He suddenly asks Billy to stay in their house for a few days. He had known of the siblings need for money. He right away schemes a plan... plan that they will forever regret in life.

Black and white films are one of the best styles for me. It is blaring with beauty and it transcends firm mystery. And the film is noirish. Unfortunately this gets the least of my favor from Alix’s entire filmography. I remember the works of the talented Brocka and Bernal which elegantly captured the morbid situation of humanity. In comparison, Tambolista looks like a fragment from previous works. Its usage in contemporary films will lead to sheer retrogression.

Manio and Martin are established independent actors. They don’t fail to surprise and amaze me. Although I am not impressed with Lucero’s acting skills. Obvious enough, his character is so wicked; portraying it literally evil is so one-dimensional. Paolo is a fellow victim of inhumanity; so a little charm might help to perk up the role’s intricate personality. The veteran actress Anita Linda as the dominant grandmother is simply stunning. She curses every other word. It’s so rare to hear a well-respected actress in a disgraceful act.

Tambolista in the English language means drummer. I too, once liked to be a drummer. Drums were like the musical instrument of egotism. The execution of this instrument is crucial as this involves genuine skills to play it with ease. Lack of familiarity might lead only to aggravation of noise. Again, Tambolista is the least I like from the works of this promising Filipino director. But
the fine acting is enough reason why you shouldn’t dare miss to see.

Charlie Koon's Rating:

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