'Norte, Hangganan ng Kasaysayan' is a Filipino adaptation of Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment. Lav Diaz reimagined the material liberally and it is truly an excellent work of art.
Set in the northern province of Luzon, Fabian(Sid Lucero) is a law school dropout with rhetoric philosophies on existentialism. He then commits a double murder where Joaquin(Archie Alemania) was falsely accused of. Joaquin is sentenced to life imprisonment leaving his wife, Eliza(Angeli Bayani) and his two kids behind.
Norte is a drama that capitalizes on specificity and real-time narrative. It explores jurisprudence, politics, religion, and history in relation to fear, violence, love and hatred. It takes the Philippine cinema to a whole new level of authenticity and beauty that doesn’t shy away from Filipino culture and ideologies.
Substantial narrative at length, the 4-hour runtime doesn’t feel too long. It lets the audience explore the stories of the individuals and manages to engage them until the credits roll and subtly wanting more.
Sid Lucero is absolutely stellar. You’ll develop a complex love-hate relationship with his character. It’s undeniable that Angeli Bayani deserves her Gawad Urian Award for Best Actress. With deliberately few words, her performance moves the audience deeply through the core emotion of the story. She is one of the few local actresses that I really admire.
Norte is powerful at its means. The unclear idea of where it is heading drives the plot. It provides the audience an extraordinary experience through its contemplative rhythm and rich story. A truthful and heart-wrenching film that does not leave you empty.
Visually compelling and strikingly beyond ordinary, Norte is a memorable ride on intense emotions and the truth behind crime, justice and punishment and what lies ahead.
Norte is one of the best films of 2014. A-must watch and definitely worth every minute of your time.