Thop Nazareno is one of the most exciting young filmmakers we have today. Not only is he technically gifted, but he more importantly has that special ability to mold simple stories into classics.
In Edward, we follow the titular character as he chiefly lives inside a public hospital to care for his ailing father. They don’t have that great a relationship, so he chooses to spend much of his time anywhere else. He loiters around the wards, makes bets with his friends, does menial work for spare change, and even lands his first kiss with pixie dream girl, foul-mouthed Agnes. Who knew staying at a hospital could be so much fun?
Nazareno’s magic lies in transforming ordinary into interesting, finding greatness in the most unassuming things. The hospital feels like a fully lived in, realized world which he populates with interesting personalities. Considering that Edward started off as your run-of-the-mill random tambay, it’s an achievement that we got hooked and invested in him to prevail as the stakes grew higher in the third act.
While on paper the subject matter sticks to the basics, Nazareno injects it with little details (and quips) that nod to relevant issues. He never makes them the center of his narrative but highlights them enough to send the message across. And if you’ll ask me, that’s more effective than watching a blatantly preachy film.
Aside from that, I’m convinced he’s also become an actor’s director. After leading Noel Comia Jr and Yayo Aguila to the podium, he might possibly do the same for the breakout performances of Louise Abuel and Ella Cruz for Edward.
With Kiko Boksingero and now Edward under his belt, there’s one more film coming up from Nazareno to complete his trilogy of father-son films. Consider me as looking forward to it — no longer as a critic but as a fan.