El Peste Full Movie Review: Seeing Richard V. Somes’ “El Peste” almost felt like sitting through one of those steamy Pinoy films from the late 90s to the early 2000s. The color-grading, the camerawork, even the premise itself scream 90s Bomba Film, and to be fair, one that is well-executed. Despite winning only a few awards, I personally thought that “El Peste” is one of the better entries in this year’s Sinag Maynila.
“El Peste” follows Abner (Mon Confiado), a lonely, eccentric man who works in a pest control company. His daily routine includes visiting pest-infested houses, deliver his sales pitch, and save the homeowners from rat-infestation. He seemed to be content, even passionate about his job. But then he meets Viola (Jean Judith Javier), a battered housewife who avails of his services to get rid of the rats plaguing her home. Abner gets attracted to Viola, and he soon finds himself delaying the completion of his work just so he can visit her more often. As his visits become more frequent, tensions between Abner and his client develops, eventually leading to an illicit sexual affair.
El Peste Full Movie Trailer
El Peste Full Movie Review
This film’s title may already give you an idea that this is not for the squeamish. There’s a bit of gore, domestic abuse, sex, pretty much some of the stuff that make up poverty-porn. The cinematography aptly makes me think of dirt and decay, having most of the scenes presented with bright yellow, brown, and black palettes.
Mon Confiado’s peformance is noteworthy. It’s strange how he is able to become both creepy and charming at the same time. But what really made him memorable to me in the film though, is his guts to handle real, live rats. That alone is testament to his dedication for his character. Jean Judith Javier on the other hand, was an edgy damsel in distress. Her character may be abused by her husband Dodie (Alvin Anson), yet she’s not entirely powerless – maybe she even used her frailty and allure to manipulate both her lover and her husband. Finally, Alvin Anson as Dodie is intimidating, menacing, and even amusing. Many times in the film I was wondering if he was deliberately trying to be funny. Strangely, I found him to be the film’s comic relief.
“El Peste” may not be for everyone, but compared to some entries in this year’s Sinag Maynila, this one sits with those on the upper tier. It’s an okay film to sit through, but not one I’d be looking forward to seeing again.