Erik Matti’s ‘BuyBust’ Strikes with Cinematic Shots and the Right Balance

Following BuyBust’s great reviews from international top-tier publications, Adobo Magazine hosted a VIP screening last September 14 at the Power Plant Mall attended by the director Erik Matti, MMA champion fighter and actor Brandon Vera, comedian Alex Calleja, production designer Roma Regala, director of photography Neil Bion, film score composer Erwin Romulo, and production designer Roma Regala, for a panel discussion moderated by Lilit Reyes.

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Charged with action, verve, and insight, BuyBust is the Filipino film that revived my hope in the genre.  Inviting its viewers into the lives of PDEA’s elite squad, including Nina Manigan (Anne Curtis), Rico Yatco (Brandon Vera), and Bernie Lacson (Victor Neri), the film gives you a hyperreality of the drug war waged in the narrow corners of the slums.

On a night when a mission heads unpredictably south, roles are reversed, and the PDEA squad becomes the group being hunted, it becomes a quest for escape saturated with violence where both endurance and trust among the characters are questioned. With the great acting chops of Nonie Buencamino, Arjo Atayde, Alex Calleja, Lao Rodriguez, Joross Gamboa, Sheenly Gener, Mara Lopez, Tarek El Tayech and AJ Muhlach, among others, the film becomes not only becomes infused with action but also an element of vulnerability and cinematic candor.    

Giving you an action-packed dose of an electric thrill sustained until the credits roll, it’s a cinematic experience that provokes its audience to ask the right questions and offers social commentaries beneath subtle undertones.

Without preaching to support or reject a political ideology, what BuyBust offers is a narrative that immerses you into a situation that isn’t too far of a stretch from the country’s situation. In a movie where the drug war’s reality meets the world of fiction, Buy Bust unpacks its message that leaves you rooting for unpredictable characters and thinking that the true resolution is yet to be an accomplished mission.

And because great films deserve great audiences, the film earns its well-deserved release with Netflix, too.  Poised for its global premiere on the streaming service, starting November this year, BuyBust goes full throttle world-class and international.

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“Everyone’s a critic now and everyone thinks they understand the drug war,” Erik Matti comments about the usual misconceptions about the film. “But we’re not lecturers who will tell you this is how you should believe.” Daring to talk about a current issue in a thought-provoking masterpiece, he says that no matter how hyper-real or absurd the setting, Gracia ni Maria, has become, it mimics a resemblance to the current state of the country.

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A riveting narrative where current maladies are exposed front and center in a lens pushed to the brink of absurd, BuyBust will continue its compelling run in Japan, Korea, Macau, Australia, and New Zealand, among others, for its theatrical release.