5 Reasons Why You Should Watch Rakenrol
The Philippine music scene is such a vibrant and colorful community that it’s strange that only a few films have tried to mine its endless source of material. Rakenrol is one that succeeds. Released in 2011, the film has mostly flown under the radar, but its charming take on promising young artists trying to work their way up the ladder deserves another look.
Rakenrol is a coming-of-age tale. It’s the story of Odie (Jason Abalos), a passionate young musician who starts a band with his childhood friend Irene (Glaiza de Castro). Along with drummer Junfour (Alwyn Uytingco) and guitarist Mo (Ketchup Eusebio), the group soon makes their mark in the underground music circuit. Their success is complicated by Odie’s crush on Irene who only has eyes for the cocky lead singer of a rival band.
Here are a few reasons why you should watch this Pinoy gem.
5. It’s downright hilarious.
The film’s cheeky, irreverent sense of humor is its most endearing quality. From a deranged roommate who covers himself in feces to a black metal band that goes on-stage with a half-naked slave wearing a ball gag, Rakenrol pokes fun at the weird and oftentimes absurd world of Filipino rock.
4. It features a massively talented cast.
Abalos and de Castro have a sweet and easygoing chemistry. Uytingco’s Junfour and his unwillingness to confront his girlfriend’s pregnancy is at times the most interesting part of the film. Comedy greats, such as Ramon Bautista and Jun Sabayton, also show up in hilarious supporting roles.
3. Diether Ocampo’s Jacci Rocha
Seriously. If you need just one reason to see this movie, it should be this one. Dripping with sleaze as the arrogant rock star Jacci Rocha, Diether Ocampo steals the show. In a movie with many great performances, this is quite a feat. Rocha, who spouts banal philosophical musings and struts around like he’s God’s gift to women, is a role the actor was born to play. Ocampo has never been better.
2. It’s not a paint-by-the-numbers Pinoy film.
While Rakenrol is a love story, the film rebels against the tropes of Filipino romantic cinema. It isn’t loaded with saccharine dialogue, cheesy kilig moments and schmaltzy covers of 80s ballads. It’s not packaged to appeal to the lowest common denominator, either. These are characters that just aren’t archetypes. They’re likeable and earnest and human.
1. It’s a love letter to OPM.
One can sense that this is a deeply personal story for Quark Henares, the director. Henares has a strong connection to music. His father is the founder of rock music station NU 107, which closed its doors in 2010 and his co-writer, Diego Castillo is from Sandwich. The director himself is a member of the band Us-2 Evil-0.
The movie is a love letter to OPM with cameos from rock royalty. Ebe Dancel, Mong Alcaraz and many more all make appearances. Music fans should give it a chance if only to geek out at the talent assembled.
With its distinct voice, refreshing style and generous helping of heart, Rakenrol is what Filipino movies should aspire to be.
The DVD is available now at Astrovision, Odyssey, SM, Astroplus and Landmark. Pinoys in the US and the UK can buy the film on Amazon or stream it for free with Amazon Prime.