Savor the Soul

Sir Yes Master!

Local urban legends roughly explain in a quizzical and a bit disgusting way the preparations of some of our favorite dishes. It ranges from dead cats to human innards to name a few. It is a bit alarming if it’s really true in practice. In casual talks, we asked the question: Would you mind if you have eaten such grisly foodstuffs? You would not care about. But what if the only thing left is human flesh and one must consume it in order to survive, to eat or not to eat?

Carnivore is the story of Lino Lucero (Carlo Aquino). It has nothing to do with neither the late Lino Brocka nor a tribute to Mike de Leon’s Batch 81’ (Lucero is Mark Gil’s surname in the film). Aside from the fact that it has fraternity components in both films, it is perceptively different and is beyond comparison. Lino comes from the province and is new in Manila. He is ready to conquer the world (very Ato). Ignorant yet idealistic, Lino tries to find ways in order to fulfill his ambition. Alas, when he was offered to join the Sigma Omicron Fraternity, he is now determined to follow the footsteps of the head, Senator Lucio San Miguel (Mark Gil).

Ato Bautista might sound too pompous when he regards his works as exceptionally brilliant. But he has the balls to do so, provided it comes with a little moderation. The first full-length feature Sa Aking Pagkagising Mula sa Kamulatan (Awaken) might look a bit sloppy in terms of its technicalities and editing but I have high praises for Carnivore. It has the kick. With Carnivore, he has certainly improved. Bautista is certainly equipped with what a good storytelling (thanks to Shugo Praico, his co-writer) and filmmaking (own technique) is all about. The camera shots are brilliantly maneuvered especially with its dungeon scene. The editing and camera works in that particular situation wherein it is superbly maneuvered. The feel of terror, anxiety and apprehension surrounds it. Carnivore certainly gives the audience a taste of life and how vicious it could become.

Without any doubt, Aquino has given a splendid performance as Lino. Geisler as Lino’s friend Ely still does not have the scar in his face in this film. I could have sensed that this film has been on the works for a long time. It could have been a long journey for the director to do this particular film. But miraculously, Erik Matti, one of its producers, has been of a great support with the project.

You might be receptive to the dynamics of the fraternity it has infused. Obviously, we share the sentiments. In any perspective and even on my own, fraternities are certainly unappealing albeit when talked about in everyday conversation. Sheer stupidity equals fraternity; this is all that reverberates into my ears. But life’s uncertainty is likely to bring out severe circumstances, worse than being beaten up by mindless fellows in a brotherhood. Carnivore has devoured much of it. But the climactic moment astoundingly weaves the entire idea of the film.

Despite the shocking and disturbing aspects in Carnivore, the film successfully penetrates the human mind. Bautista is perceivably way better in creating psychological fears. The effect is desirable with the film’s visuals. Carnivore achieves its goal, but definitely not in a disgusting way.

Charlie Koon's Rating

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