Quick Take: Mina-Anud

Mina-anud achieved significant attention after being selected as Cinemalaya 2019’s closing film, which was quite unexpected. That in itself gives a hint that this movie is more than what it lets off.

Mina-anud radiates an infectious energy through vibrant cinematography, playful editing, sarcastic dialogue, and a dash of lewd scenes. It’s easy to dismiss it as your run-of-the-mill comedy, but it’s all smoke and mirrors and conceals a tragic core. Ding and Carlo are both weary, desperate simpletons who are stuck in dull, directionless lives in a place that’s supposed to be filled with surprise and possibilities. They don’t exactly have lofty dreams for themselves but have a hard time achieving anything of significance either way.

When three tons of cocaine end up near their surfing community, the duo’s desperation plays off the opportunity presented. They act as middlemen in smuggling bricks upon bricks of illegal substances to Manila – and get entangled with the police and endanger their lives as the whole setup gets more and more complicated. The movie then transforms into a cautionary tale of the whole drug trade – from the suppliers, to the pushers, to the users – and alludes to the current political situation regarding this issue. Rather that being overtly preachy, it alternatively focuses on the predicament of the people affected and effectively humanizes them in the process.

This serves as Kerwin Go’s feature directorial debut, and he’s one to watch. His style reminds me of other young directors like Gino M. Santos who inject a lot of life and color in their films. Dennis Trillo is solid as Ding and serves as the straight man of the pair. Jerald Napoles is a riot! Hope he gets more opportunities to show off his comedic chops in the future.

The general audience will enjoy the movie as your typical dude-bro adventure. It’s hilarious and trippy and fun, all in a charming package. But I hope they come to appreciate how it decisively goes deeper and more substantial. That is worth a toast.