Tessa Maria Guazon
The Animals (The Cinemalaya Foundation, Stained Glass Productions and Lunar Saints)
Directed by Gino Santos
A flagrant, gripping picture of indulgent, aimless youth, The Animals leaves a bitter aftertaste. Left to fend for themselves, teenagers on the verge of adulthood tackle life on their own shaky terms. Partying as if the world is to end, they careen to repulsive excess. Flighty passion and smouldering tempers lead to nowhere good. The film weaves a harrowing vision of shallow, self-absorption, one that demands equally trivial belonging. Underneath the layer of their picture-book lives boils a cantankerous sore.
Teenagers Jake, Trina, and Alex prepare for school and all else that seems mundane. The party they all looked forward to turns into an unwieldy, sinister event. True to its name Shutdown a no-holds barred party seems to have abandoned reason or restraint. Beneath the sophisticated nonchalance, they all reveal themselves children in dire need of love. Miserably drunk, spurred by booze and drugs, their uncontrollable passions lead to tragic consequence. While well put together, The Animals unleashes wave upon wave of despair but the kind that fails resolution or reflection. It ignites a fluttering fury but doesn’t entirely succeed in untangling the roots of a cruel misery.