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Banal (2008)

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Starring: Cassandra Punti, Alfred Vargas, Christopher De Leon, Paolo Contis, Paolo Paraiso
Directed by: Cesar Apolinario
Genre: Action / Adventure
Language: Filipino
Rating: Unrated Unrated
Review Rating:


Cris (Paolo Contis) and Jason (Alfred Vargas) are two policemen with two opposite personalities and philosophies-Cris is the epitome of the rare, near-extinct breed of honest cops while Jason is the basurero, the legman/front man who does the dirty work of his districts high officials. Despite their contrasting natures, the two forge an unlikely friendship during their Special Weapons And Tactics (SWAT) training, a friendship borne from conflict and competition, and bordering on brotherhood.

The unlikely architect of their friendship is Major Sagala (Christopher de Leon), their SWAT trainer. An alcoholic and once a basurero himself, Sagala sees in the two young cops the raw talent and skill that could make them the best the force he had ever seen. A loner and an outcast, and despite his rough and tough exterior, Sagala finds the sons he never had in Jason and Cris.

Five years later, Cris is transferred from Cotabato to Jasons SWAT unit in Manila. His mother is in need of operation unavailable in the province, prompting him to make the request. It is only then that Jason finds out that he is the godfather to Criss son, and that the boy is also named after him. For the first time in his life, Jason feels the warmth of a family. But Cris is a changed man. An encounter with a local politician in Cotabato has left him scarred physically and emotionally. His faith in the system he lived for has been replaced by a cynical hatred for the world. As the visit of the pope to the country draws near, Jason and Cris uncover a plot to assassinate the Pontiff.

For Jason, cracking this case would mean his ascension from a basurero to legitimate police official. Until he finds out that the seemingly holy Cris is involved in this plot to kill the holiest man in Catholicism. As a bomb ticks its way to an explosive ending, the two men must confront each other in a deadly role reversal that will test their friendship.

Banal explores the unseen side of police work, stabs at the unscrupulous behavior of the media in everyday events, and shows an uncompromising picture of Philippine society. In todays day and age, angels can become demons, and sinners can become saints.

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