MOVIE REVIEW: ‘Smaller And Smaller Circles’ (2017)

The movie adaptation of the crime thriller that’s been much awaited for years, is finally here for everyone to see. Here’s my review of Raya Martin’s ‘Smaller And Smaller Circles’.

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Nonie Buencamino and Sid Lucero

The story isn’t as complicated as other films in the same genre. It’s basically two Jesuit priests who are trying to catch a serial killer who attacks young, innocent boys. It’s simple, and something inside you feels that there’s something lacking. At first, the story felt a bit thin for a movie of this kind, but I was proven wrong. There’s actually enough to keep the fire burning. Simplicity is the film’s greatest strength.

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Still from ‘Smaller And Smaller Circles’

The book was written in the 90’s, yet it still feels very much relevant up to this day. The slivers of truth it provides throughout the film is haunting, yet at the same time enlightening. It reveals how dirty, toxic, and corrupt our nation is, in many different ways. It’s an eye-opening experience, especially with the country’s current state, but all that doesn’t take away from it being a smart crime thriller. It all blends together brilliantly.

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Carla Humphries

Most of the dialogues in the film are in English, as is the novel it is based on. While some Filipino movies tend to do this, and make it sound very awkward and unnatural, Smaller strikes a balance between interchanging two languages (there’s even some French in there) without any feeling of awkwardness and discomfort on the part of the audience. It’s all thanks to the brilliant actors in the film, under the masterful direction of Raya Martin.

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TJ Trinidad, Bembol Roco, and Christopher De Leon

The acting here is top-notch. Nonie Buencamino lands his first lead role in a movie, playing Fr. Gus Saenz. His tandem with Sid Lucero as Fr. Jerome Lucero, who plays his on-screen “sidekick” works well, the chemistry between the two felt natural. Carla Humphries returns to acting via Smaller, and she nailed her performance as the persistent journalist Joanna Bonifacio. Every single one of the cast gave it their all, and most of them were remarkable, even though they were given less to do. The performances here were as real as possible.

Nonie Buencamino as Fr Gus Saenz
Nonie Buencamino

Smaller And Smaller Circles strives to be intense and mysterious, and it achieves this with simplicity. It is well put together, and while it isn’t a perfect crime thriller, it’s still a movie very much worthy of your time and money. We always say we want something new, something different, and now there’s this. Please watch it, don’t waste this chance, for the love of Philippine cinema.

My Rating: 8/10

The official trailer of ‘Smaller And Smaller Circles’:

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