tv + film by Philbert Dy

‘DAD: Durugin ang Droga’ is Devoid of Value

Its very existence may be proof that life is nothing but chaos

NBHD movie 0 ticketThe inexplicably titled DAD: Durugin ang Droga is sort of about family man Lucas (Allen Dizon), who immediately goes into a downward spiral after going to a party where’s he’s treated to booze, women, and drugs, in that order. He starts coming home late every day, ignoring the needs of his wife (Jackie Aquino) and his children. This in turn leads her to turn to alcohol to numb the pain of her absent, drug-abusing husband, and his eldest son (LA Santos) to start hanging out with the bad crowd at school, who all skip class to smoke marijuana in stairwells.Screen Shot 2017-09-15 at 11.39.26 AMThis is only half of the story, however. At some point, the film basically forgets about this family and starts concentrating on the internal struggles of a couple of drug lords (Efren Reyes and Sharmaine Suarez) and their corrupt congressman boss (Rey “PJ” Abellana). There’s some fuss made over a few undercover agents that have managed to infiltrate that syndicate, but it’s a subplot that doesn’t really move much until the very end. It doesn’t matter, really. None of this really makes any sense. In the last stretch, there’s a big twist reveal that theoretically changes things, but it’s just another dumb thing in a movie that is suffused with dumb things.Screen Shot 2017-09-15 at 11.43.09 AMLet’s put aside the fact that the movie is a pro-Duterte screed that literally ends with a clip of the president saying “My gahd, I hate drugs” and take the film on its own merits, of which there are none. The very first two shots are out of focus, the presumed subject of the scene left hazy while some garden feature in the background stays sharp. The film’s sound is consistently bad, the filmmakers often not putting in any effort to make the dialogue intelligible to a human ear. There are a couple of sequences where characters are singing, and nothing was done to make the sound sync up with what’s happening on screen.Screen Shot 2017-09-15 at 11.43.35 AMAnd let’s say you don’t care about those technical details at all, and simply wish to partake of the film’s narrative. Then you’ll run into the problem of the utterly incompetent storytelling. Characters disappear for long stretches before it is revealed that they are actually integral to everything that’s going on. The sequence of events is utterly baffling, the film prone to cutting away to completely unrelated scenes in the middle continuous sequences. And often, these scenes introduce new characters without any context whatsoever, their relation to the larger plot left as a later surprise.Screen Shot 2017-09-15 at 11.41.13 AMAnd then there are just the straight up baffling choices. This film has an absolutely insane flashback sequence where the members of the cast play younger versions of themselves. Rey “PJ” Abellana is wearing a cap that has “1996” printed on it, presumably to identify the year. Allen Dizon walks into this scene wearing a bandana to indicate that he isn’t yet the businessman that he will eventually become. For that sequence, at least, he is a bandana-wearing young person. There is a sequence where Jackie Aquino is made to watch herself drinking beer in a mirror. It turns out, too, that she’s holding a wine bottle in the other hand, as well. Because of course she is. Everyone in this movie is made to look completely ridiculous.Screen Shot 2017-09-15 at 11.44.39 AMAnd one shouldn’t get the impression that DAD: Durugin ang Droga is worth it even for just ironic appeal. True, the pure absurdity of the flashback sequence makes it come close. But most of the movie is actually really boring. There isn’t much that happens for long stretches, the movie not even having the decency to be consistently insane throughout its overlong runtime. It is interesting only to the extent that it was made at all, this movie so lacking in value that one would assume that the universe wouldn’t allow it to exist. But it is here, perhaps the strongest proof yet of a completely uncaring, unjust cosmos.

Philbert Dy
Philbert Ortiz Dy has been reviewing movies professionally since 2007, and has thus dedicated his life to being yelled at by fans of literally everyone. He is currently the Online Editor of Yell at him on Twitter at @philbertdy.
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