Well-made films transport audiences to foreign worlds using themes and storytelling elements that make strange environments resonate despite their unfamiliarity. Filipino writer-director Ron Morales’ second feature, “Graceland,” dives into the underbelly of the complicated Manila crime world with a disturbing story of lies, intrigue and revenge that connects on a universal level despite its specific context. Austin’s Drafthouse Films is distributing the feature that played at Fantastic Fest last year.
Morales’ shaky camera and off-centered framing lend a jarring and naturalistic feel to the story of Marlon Villar (Arnold Reyes), the exhausted and underappreciated personal assistant of congressman Manuel Changho (Menggie Cobarrubias). Early scenes illuminate that Marlon’s job extends beyond driving the congressman. He also helps cover up potentially damning secrets for his boss. An impoverished man of faith, Marlon appears to have little choice in his servitude. His wife lies in a hospital room in need of an organ transplant.
The story you’re reading is premium content from the Austin American-Statesman. Subscribers get total access to all our in-depth news, digital editions and exclusive premium content. You can also buy a 24-hour digital pass or 7-day digital pass.
Read MyStatesman.com now — 24-hour digital pass99¢ for 24-hours
Read MyStatesman.com all week — 7-day digital pass$3.99 for 7-days
Subscribe to the Statesman for as little as 33¢ per dayView Offers
For Subscribers: Register your account for digital access.Access Digital
For Subscribers: Sign in here if you have already registered your account.Sign In