Mamasapano: Now It Can Be Told is a 2022 Philippine film directed by Lester Dimaranan and produced by Ferdinand Topacio. It stars Edu Manzano, Aljur Abrenica, and Paolo Gumabao as the main characters, who are based on real-life figures involved in the Mamasapano incident.
The film tells the story of the 44 SAF officers who died during the tragic Mamasapano clash of 2015. The SAF was tasked to capture or kill Zulkifli Abdhir, also known as Marwan, a Malaysian terrorist, and bomb-maker who was hiding in Mamasapano, Maguindanao. The operation, codenamed Oplan Exodus, was planned and executed by the SAF without the coordination of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), a rebel group that had a peace agreement with the government.
The film shows the preparation, execution, and aftermath of the operation, as well as the political and personal repercussions of the incident. It portrays the bravery, sacrifice, and heroism of the SAF officers, as well as the incompetence, negligence, and corruption of some of the government officials and military commanders. It also depicts the human side of the conflict, such as the grief of the families of the fallen, the plight of the civilians caught in the crossfire, and the dilemma of the MILF fighters who had to choose between honoring the peace deal or defending their territory.
Mamasapano: Now It Can Be Told is a gripping and controversial film that tackles one of the most sensitive and divisive issues in Philippine history. The film does not shy away from showing the brutal reality of war, as well as the complex and conflicting perspectives of the different parties involved. The film is well-researched and based on the official reports of the PNP and the Senate, as well as the testimonies of the survivors and witnesses. The film also uses actual footage and photos of the incident, adding to the realism and authenticity of the story.
Edu Manzano, Aljur Abrenica, and Paolo Gumabao deliver compelling performances, bringing depth and authenticity to their portrayals of the SAF troopers. The film's action sequences are well-executed and visceral, immersing the viewer in the chaos and desperation of the battlefield.
The film suffers from some technical and artistic shortcomings, such as poor editing, inconsistent sound quality, the excessive use of slow motion, and melodramatic music. The film also has a clear bias and agenda, as it presents a one-sided and negative portrayal of the Aquino administration and the MILF, while glorifying the SAF and the Duterte administration. The film also fails to address some of the deeper and broader issues surrounding the incident, such as the root causes of the conflict, the implications of the peace process, and the role of the United States and other foreign actors.
The film masterfully captures the emotional intensity of the mission, as the troopers face intense firefights, treacherous terrain, and the ever-present threat of betrayal. The camaraderie and unwavering loyalty among the SAF troopers shine through, highlighting their unwavering commitment to their duty and their fallen comrades.
Mamasapano: Now It Can Be Told is a film that will surely elicit strong reactions and opinions from the viewers, depending on their political and personal views. The film is a reminder of the need for more dialogue, understanding, and reconciliation among the Filipino people, as well as the need for more responsible and ethical filmmaking in the country.
Final Score – [6/10]
Reviewed by - Arpita Mondal
Publisher at Midgard Times
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