Drag me to the Pit

Show me the bling-bling

24K is a film that is made by a woman (Ana Agabin) with an all-male cast. The material itself is too manly and I think it has gone overboard on being quite technical in the approach. Surely some of the audience when I screened the film had some laughing time in trivialities not to mention the comical rendition of masculine characters digging Yamashita’s treasure in the vast mountain of Ilocos Sur. Despite an exceptional cinematography and well-acted casts, the story lacks urgency in order for it to be hailed as one of the best films in the festival.

The story is pretty simple. The story is about treasure hunters of gold bars. They dig holes; get dirt out of it until they find something. That’s it. So you will see how deep the hole is and how it fascinates them that somehow, they believe that gold bars are there buried for decades. Manok is played by Julio Diaz who has an obsession with the treasure hunting trade. He even left his pregnant wife just to catch up on the site where their other buddies, Karlo and Arturo, have already established a spot for the gold digging. He is accompanied by Freddie (Archi Adamos) and Boyet (Jojit Lorenzo) into the ultimate quest of dirt digging.

One interesting aspect is not entirely the foremost in the story. It is the insertion of cultural traditions being practiced from the northern region. One of this is the Ensalay Ritual. This was witnessed by Manok upon going down the mountain. It is a ritual of good harvest. Speaking of rituals, Boyet is the most courteous in terms of respecting rituals. They always offer food for the spirits in the mountains and believe that having a clear conscience would help in finding the fortune that is now owned by the supernatural spirits. At the start of the film, they had to kill a rooster to seek signs of good fortune for their quest. It is in the gall bladder that the signs will emerge. Despite their respect through offering, human greed could definitely be a warning of impending disaster.

24K is just adequate in terms of its meticulous camera works and cinematography. They have captured intricate scenes inside the dungeon. They also had an elaborate production design for the mining. There are also invigorating shots made in the Rice Terraces in the region while the native inhabitants dancing their way to the sky. But the story has failed to expand the material without losing its simplicity. There are other story devices that could pump up the film but it has been hanging on unsafe grounds. 24K could still be enjoyed but it is more into the technical aspect which most audience does not care about.

Charlie Koon's Rating:

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