Kiki & Lala

Review: The Last Journey of Ninoy

Posted on: August 28, 2009

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I finally got to watch the much-anticipated docu last weekend. I know you’re madly wanting to watch it too. Since we are all too familiar with the story line – no spoilers here even if I wanted to! – I’m posting this review.

The basic format for The Last Journey of Ninoy features his almost week long journey back to Manila from Boston. Each leg of the trip flashes back to a particular period in his life. And this is all superbly edited using a mix of real footage and recreated scenes.

Perhaps the strangest part is Bam cast as Ninoy. It’s no surprise I guess given their physical similarities but having Bam as my good friend is a disadvantage as a viewer. He also looks decades younger than Ninoy was when he made that fateful trip. They tried to age him with makeup but that didn’t work out so they cast a young Cory to match a young Ninoy – banking on the audience’s suspension of belief. The “Aquino kids” who did not get much screen time were also cast at least six years younger than the age of Ballsy et al in 1983.

The art direction was excellent. The effort put into the details of the set design really came across. The scoring was well chosen too. It gave more energy to the events being recounted without over dramatizing them.

But the reason The Last Journey is unlike any other Ninoy docu ever made is because his story is told by Cory. I’ve seen a ton of Ninoy material in my life but none narrated so personally by her. I didn’t realize what a good story teller she was! This is probably the most emotional she’s ever been on cam. No tears, no voice breaking but subtle things like misty eyes – again, something I’d not seen before.

There is footage of her interviews when she was still healthy. But most of the interview material seems to have been taped when she was already ill 😦 You can’t help but feel then end of an era.

I loved how she talked about seeing Ninoy in Laur. He had lost a massive amount of weight and he was for the first time, hopeless. Ninoy wrote in his diary how amazed he was at his wife’s strength at that moment, when the children were crying and they all thought this might be the last time they were going to see him alive. But she recounts with much amusement how that came to be. I won’t spoil that anecdote for you.

Tito Paul was also cast in the film. You never see him but he is Ninoy’s “voice” as there are parts in which “Ninoy” talks about his experiences on those late August days. I thought he did a great job sounding like his brother.

I found the film’s pace quite peppy – there are no parts that drag. In fact, the whole story is so fascinating you want to know more about this incredible life, things that couldn’t possibly fit into a docu of this length. But that works because if this moves its viewers, they’ll ask more questions, do research and come to a more complete understanding of Ninoy.

The film ends on an high and inspiring note. (Tissue, please). Kuya Jun concluded his first full length film with resounding lines from Ninoy’s famous speech in LA that ring more true today than ever. I’m going to transcribe them and put them on the fridge or my dresser or somewhere!

The purpose of The Last Journey was to make known to those born after ’83 and ’86 how the freedom they enjoy today came about and I think it succeeded. Tita Cory never got to see the final edit of this film but one of the last things she told Kuya Jun was, Jun galingan mo ha. And that he did.

The DVD will be out soon. I’m getting us a copy each.

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4 Responses to "Review: The Last Journey of Ninoy"

i reserved na 5 dvds… one for pammy!

ooh ooh can you please reserve one for me too?!

Thanks twinpopsis, I will wait for it! : )

Great job, Lala! You’ve piqued my interest even more. Thanks too for not giving away any spoilers. I can’t wait to watch it. Hmmm…perhaps a premiere night in my empty apartment. Haha!

i think you’ll really like it as we all did.

and it’s the kind of film you’ll watch over and over again.

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