BALER is a fresh surprise. I'm not a fan of modern Philippine mainstream cinema, but this one was neatly constructed. While not Mark Meily's best (nothing he has ever done can top CRYING LADIES), the compelling story made me sit through the whole film. Jericho Rosales, Anne Curtis, and Philip Salvador give it all their best, to satisfying results.

I liked the film because the portrayal of the Spaniards was two-dimensional. Ryan Eigenmann is menacing as a Spanish Officer. 

Roy Iglesias' script is solid and tightly-written. The central conflict of star-crossed lovers gets a fresh new treatment. I have an admiration for Iglesias having fleshed out a fictional story weaved into history. 

Accusations of incoherence (i.e. the dog not getting old despite the timeline) are only minimal setbacks. The story is still king, and BALER has such a rich story. It is a rare gem in a film festival populated by useless trash.

RATING: 4/5 


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