The Film Biker | Chicago Reader

The Film Biker

Hollywood might hype this calculatedly sexy and sentimental melodrama from the Philippines as Cinema Paradiso crossed with soft-porn teen romance. Gregory (Piolo Pascual) is a bike courier who shuttles movie reels between dilapidated theaters in a poor section of Manila. He's a hardworking and reliable kid, courteous to strangers and solicitous toward his movie-crazy relatives and friends, including a frail grandfather, a projectionist, and a waitress who was once an extra. He also falls in love with a young woman (Janna Victoria) who—surprise, surprise—turns out to be a hooker. Director Mel Chionglo throws in enough complications to keep the action chugging along, but they don't add much to our understanding of the characters. And he seems to be depending on the maudlin, New Agey score to convey tension and drama. The film comes alive only when the camera goes verite, prowling through the crowded, grimy streets or peering into squalid apartments. 100 min.

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