Ian Gamazon & Neill Dela Llana
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About the Movie
A young man unwillingly becomes embroiled in a terrorist plot in Cavite, a low-budget digital video project from Filipino-American co-writers/co-directors Ian Gamazon and Neill Dela Llana. The film, shot with a jittery hand-held camera that is almost constantly in motion, opens with a panic-stricken man bringing a bomb onto a Manila bus, then cuts to San Diego, where Adam (Gamazon) is working nights as a security guard and seems to be wasting his life away before he gets a call from his mother in the Philippines, telling him he needs to come home. He's sent off by a protracted transcontinental telephone argument with his American girlfriend, but things get much worse for Adam when he lands in Manila. His mother doesn't arrive to pick him up, and he soon discovers that someone has slipped a package containing a cell phone into his backpack. The phone rings, he picks it up, and his life is changed forever. On the other end of the line, a sinister voice tells Adam that his mother and sister are being held hostage, that his every move is being watched, and that if he doesn't do exactly as the voice tells him, his family will be killed. As he's led on a grisly tour of the impoverished Cavite region, Adam, a lapsed Muslim, soon realizes that his tormentor is a member of the notorious Abu Sayyaf terrorist group, which is fighting the Philippine government to get Muslim control of the southern section of the country. While sending him through his mysterious "assignment," the caller mocks Adam for his American ways, and his lack of awareness of his own culture. Cavite was selected by the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Museum of Modern Art for inclusion in New Directors/New Films in 2006.
Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews
- Reviews Counted: 40
- Fresh: 29
- Rotten: 11
- Average Rating: 6.3/10
Top Critics' Reviews
Fresh: Terrorism and cultural identity are only two of the themes wound into a tight knot of fear and bewilderment in Cavite, a gripping no-budget political thriller.
Fresh: One of those blistering no-budget thrillers, like Open Water or Detour, in which the film's economy of means is the trigger for its ingenuity.
Fresh: For a guerrilla-style, no-budget Yank indie to even tackle issues of jihad terror and naive Western thinking is noteworthy in itself, but Gamazon and Dela Llana inflame the issues with a gutsy, athletic filmmaking package.
Rotten: The hand-held camera work gives the film an effective documentary pulse, but it adds up to only half a movie.
Moving, unforgettable movie
I watched this late one night on some "indie" movie channel and have never been the same since. It may be from the Philippines and "foreign" to most American's, but the story is timeless and crosses all borders--How far will a person go to save his loved ones? The ending--where the protagonist is forced to face his religious upbringing and quietly gives in to his tormentor and renews his faith--will stay with you forever. An outstanding movie!