Miracle in Cell No 7 Review
Aga Muhlach, Xia Vigor, John Arcilla and Joel Torre topbills the Fililipino remake of Miracle in Cell No 7 which is directed by Nuel C Naval. Here’s my Miracle in Cell No 7 review which will be part of the MMFF 2019.
Watch the trailer for the film below:
The film is based on the 2013 South Korean film of the same title directed by Lee Hwang-Kyung. This local remake has such a solid cast that it’s impossible not to get the feels at various points in time. Director Naval together with the folks at Viva Films definitely made the film with utter respect to the source material. I’m actually surprised how close the local version is to the original.
I can’t praise the cast enough…
Led by Aga Muhlach who plays Joselito Gopez or Lito, the cast is as stellar as can be. Muhlach’s performance as Lito here is exceptional. He totally nailed the child-like innocence of a father who only wants what’s best for his daughter Yesha (Xia Vigor). Vigor’s take as the daughter in turn complements Aga’s dialogues and scenes. So hats off too for the perfect casting. Even the more violent scenes depicted in the film hits you square in the face with the way the cast acts.
The humor was also top notch here. Sure, we’ve already seen the same stuff in the Korean version (if you haven’t you can still stream it legally through various platforms) but given a Filipino treatment with the right people (i.e JC Santos) and its riotous as heck. Be wary though there’s a ton of poop jokes here and there but thats really OK.
Mind you this is a remake so everything from the Korean version is lifted and translated (beautifully if I may add) to the Filipino context. From the accident that changed the father and daughter’s life to the final, heartbreaking scene. Everything was great. I’m going to risk it a bit by saying they did a few ballsy moves too by giving prison a grittier and dirtier feel to it. Then there’s also how they expanded the scenes between Lito and Yesha by showing their life before the incident, how happy and simple life was for them.
Also as a dad, seeing that scene with Xia’s Yesha waiting in the rain as well as her going to school by her lonesome is a powerful scene. No parent would want that to happen to their kid. That truly crushed my heart when watching the movie.
But there is one thing, one gripe in the overall critique for this film and that’s how the visuals were towards that climatic moment involving Lito, Yesha and a balloon. That scene was beautifully done in the Korean version…
While its still gut-wrenching the setting changes and so does the visual, where the original was set in a field, this one is set on the rooftop. Only problem was (for me anyway) is that the CG needed some more work. But it may not ruin the experience for you guys, I’m just stating this for the sake of pointing it out.
Also Bela Padilla’s take as the older Yesha was pretty good. Definitely a good choice to replace Nadine Samonte.
That scene with John Arcilla and Tirso Cruz III also was really damn good. The “batuhan” of lines was excellent and executed with so much conviction and truth. Ibang klase talaga ang mga local “batikans” natin.
Overall, I loved this movie. Despite the flaws, I think Viva Films will rake in the numbers for this one. It’s as great as the original and definitely brings the Pinoy flavor in it. I’m already thinking which actor could nab a nomination here but clearly Aga Muhlach was in his element in this movie.
Special thanks to Viva Films for the early screening. Miracle in Cell No 7 opens December 25