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CINEMALAYA 2018 | MOVIE REVIEW: ‘Kuya Wes’ (2018)

Ogie Alcasid’s big screen comeback was a pleasantly delightful surprise. Here’s my review of James Robin Mayo’s ‘Kuya Wes’.

From the trailer of ‘Kuya Wes’

This is a film one would expect coming from Spring Films. I don’t know if you’ll get what I mean, but when you see this, you’ll probably know it’s from them. Don’t worry, this is a good thing, as I’ve never really disliked any of their films. This may sound like it’s heavily biased, but trust me, this is as honest as I can get.

From the trailer of ‘Kuya Wes’

I was a bit hesitant to say this, as it sounds a bit cheesy, but I think one thing that makes this film so relatable is because I believe that there’s a Kuya Wes in all of us. There’s always a part of us that wants to give love and happiness, and be given both of these at the same time, and yet we almost always choose the wrong people we give this love and happiness to. This is basically Kuya Wes‘ story, he always gives his all (figuratively and literally) to his customers and to the people around him, and yet he ends up constantly being taken advantage of, getting nothing in return.

From the trailer of ‘Kuya Wes’

It’s delightful, and painful to watch at the same time, as I’d like to think that we’ve all experienced this one way or another some time in our lives. The story might be too thin for some, but the good thing is that the runtime of the film is not to long, it’s just enough to flesh out all that this story can give. The soundtrack is also perfect for a film like this, credits to Shirebound & Busking and Johnoy Danao for writing songs that are fitting to this film’s story.

From the trailer of ‘Kuya Wes’

I guess it’s a bit coincidental that most of the scenes are somewhat inspired by Wes Anderson‘s cinematography. The popping colors, the symmetry, the close-up head shots all remind me of Wes Anderson‘s style. The overall quirkiness of the remittance center where Kuya Wes works serves as an interesting contrast between the main character’s journey of bringing happiness to those who walk in their doors, and the dark, gloomy world surrounding him. There’s a scene in the final act where Kuya Wes sort of breaks the fourth wall, which threw me off a bit, but I get why this was done.

From the trailer of ‘Kuya Wes’

This is Ogie Alcasid‘s return to the big screen, and thank goodness, he didn’t disappoint. His comedic timing is perfect for the titular character, and he has great rapport with Moi Bien, who seems to be Kuya Wes‘ only true friend in the film. Ina Raymundo is perfect as the manipulative damsel in distress, her every stare conveying both a desperate plea for help, and an underlying sense of deviousness. All of Kuya Wes‘ frequent customers are interesting as well, adding more humor to an already hilarious film.

From the trailer of ‘Kuya Wes’

Kuya Wes is a refreshing break from all the darkness in the real world. As I’ve said, the film is relatable on so many levels as we all have a Kuya Wes in us, which is why this film works. It may be a bit too thin, storywise, but no doubt, this film surely put a smile on my face.

My Rating: 8/10

Here’s the full trailer for ‘Kuya Wes’:

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