Smaller and Smaller Circles: Movie Review

"Smaller and Smaller Circles" is an adaptation that failed to pick the right elements from the excellent novel it is based from. Almost everything within the film felt unnecessary and the heavy-handed social commentaries too in-your-face. This is an adaptation that needs serious heavy rewrites and unfortunatey, a mere shadow compared to its source material.
There has always been a belief that there are no serial killers in the Philippines. But when a string of grisly murders involving mutilated bodies of young boys turn up in Payatas, the police seeks the help of two Jesuit priests, Gus Saenz (Nonie Buencamino) and Jerome Lucero (Sid Lucero), to perform forensic work and profiling to find the murderer before he gets a chance to kill another one. But the task is easier said than done as the priests must not only face a deadly killer on the loose but must also deal with the corruption and politics within the Church and government.
We remember "Smaller and Smaller Circles" and one of the key highlights from the novel was the friendship and banter between Fr. Saenz and Fr. Lucero. And the film heavily relies on that factor to write the script of the film. Unfortunately, this doesn't translate well on the big screen. The context of conversations are sometimes lost and most scenes felt like they were over-staying their welcome taking seconds or minutes longer than they should have. We also didn't like how the film's take on showing the worst of the Philippines. Its style wasn't subtle at all and the film feels like it was written as a social commentary film first before a mystery film. Acting-wise, the leads gave wonderful performances but the supporting cast was laughable at times. Aside from Bembol Roco and Ricky Davao, eveyone in the supporting cast had heavy-handed and unnatural performances. Fortunately, it's not all doom and gloom for the film. There's no denying that the cinematography was stellar at times and the film had no worries showing the gruesome nature of the mutilations.
Rating: 1 and a half reels

Why you should watch it:
- isn't afraid to show gore
- the cinematography was awesome

Why you shouldn't watch it:
- doesn't hold a candle to its source material
- the supporting cast had laughably bad performances
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