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Film / Honor Thy Father

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"Yeshua will provide!"

Honor thy Father is a Filipino movie, directed by acclaimed filmmaker Erik Matti (of On the Job fame), and an entry to the 2015 Metro Manila Film Festival. Noted names in Philippine entertainment in this film include: John Lloyd Cruz, who plays the protagonist Edgar; Meryll Soriano as his wife Kaye; and screen veteran Tirso Cruz III as the (somewhat) villainous, but very charismatic, Bishop Tony, leader of the church they attend on Sundays.

Edgar is a simple, devoted family man, who lives with his wife and daughter up in the cool mountains of Baguio City. He wants the best for his family; he drives his one daughter Angel to and from school, and cooperates with his wife Kaye in making and managing their finances, maintaining their home, and—so far uncomplainingly—shoring up family life by attending Sunday services at the Church of Yeshua our Saviour, to which Kaye is a devout member. Edgar joins her in outwardly raising hands and singing with the best of them even if he's fairly skeptical of the whole thing.


The real problems arise when Kaye, as part and parcel of her duties towards her church, promotes her father's complicated investment scheme to her fellow parishioners, who buy into it willingly. All seems well and good until her father turns up murdered, and the money disappears. And that's really bad news: Kaye is blamed for swindling the money, and she ends up in debt to, and offending, some pretty powerful people, some of whom aren't above levelling death threats—and actual guns—at her whole family.

And now Edgar has to help set things right. Even if it means getting a gun of his own and turning to a life of crime. He'll need to get back that money, by hook or by crook, because really, at this point, what has his family got left to lose.


Sample tropes:

  • Affably Evil: Bishop Tony doesn't raise his voice to Edgar in anger or directly plan to harm him or his family, even when Edgar is already attempting to strangle him for refusing to allow some of the church collections to pay off Kaye's creditors. He seems wilfully ignorant of Edgar's family's plight or else can't bring himself to help them out the easy way, but he appears to genuinely wish the best for Edgar and his family, even if his way of expressing so is through the unsubtle method of praying over them.
  • Big Fancy House: Bishop Tony's gleaming-white palace is just that: palatial.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Edgar manages to kill the politician couple who kidnapped—and savagely beat up—his wife Kaye, holding her ransom for the scammed money … but she still dies. Angel apparently survives though.
  • Christianity Is Catholic: Averted in a big way. This might be the Philippines, the famously solid bastion of Catholicism in Asia, but the film revolves around the fictional Church of Yeshua Our Saviour, an apparently indigenous Filipino Protestant or Evangelical church. It's based on Real Life native-Filipino churches like the Iglesia ni Cristo.
  • Churchgoing Villain: All of them, in a sense; even Edgar himself is forced into crime, but the standouts of course are the husband-and-wife who lost the most in Kaye's dad's investment scheme, and are now demanding their pound of flesh, willing to hurt even Angel if necessary.
  • Corrupt Church
  • Corrupt Politician: The couple who lost their money to Kay's dad's scheme turn out to be politicians, or at least one of them is; their SUV has a "8" licence plate, reserved in the Philippines for legislators. No wonder it's so scary that Kaye has crossed them, even if unintentionally; in a country where political power is synonymous with feudal control, they have influence, and actual firepower, on their side.
  • The Caper: The heist carried out by Edgar and his brothers is nowhere nearly as glamorous as portrayed by Hollywood or classic European heist films; here, it's an act of sheer desperation to recoup the swindled assets, on pain of death. Edgar is forced to enlist his miner brothers in breaking into the Bishop's house to recover the donation of his father-in-law, locked in the Bishop's safe.
  • Disappeared Dad: Kaye's father turns up dead soon after he makes a big donation to the Church of Yeshua, part of which was invested from other church members. Edgar's dad, meanwhile, died offscreen of a heart attack, which he learns about firsthand from his family when he and Angel go visit them.
  • Eye Scream: Angel was reprimanded in school for poking a classmate in the eye. Later becomes a Discussed Trope when Edgar sides with her over it, seeing as she was just standing up to bullying, and when Angel asks him if he'll "poke" the family's enemies in the eye as well, he basically agrees (metaphorically of course).
  • Film Noir: It could count as this, what with the gritty settings, convoluted plot and machinations, complex webs of corruption and abuse of power, characters in difficult physical and mental situations, and the film's refusal to tie up loose ends or give a happy or clear resolution.
  • Grim Up North: Sort of. The Philippine version of this trope is centred around the cool mountain ranges around "summer capital" Baguio City, in the northern part of Luzon island (itself forming the north third of the Philippine land area), and while it's certainly more convivial than Western trope examples, it's where all the crime and corruption in this movie takes place, not needing to go down to the more stereotypical Wretched Hive of Metro Manila.
  • Karma Houdini: The film ends without showing if Edgar (or his brothers) get arrested or prosecuted for their crimes, even as they're the relative good guys and even as Bishop Tony knows they broke into his safe; nor do we see if the Bishop himself or his church ever gets investigated.
  • Kill the Creditor: Edgar ends up doing this to the politician couple that kidnapped and beat up Kaye for money she—and by extension, her family—owes. It's not enough to save Kaye, however.
  • Light Is Not Good: The Church of Yeshua prominently displays a motif of whiteness: its buildings, the churchgoers' and ministers' attire, and the Bishop's palace are all immaculate, but of course it's also the centre of financial intrigue, and some of its attendees are not above committing violent crime if it'll recoup their investments.
  • Papa Wolf: Edgar is definitely this, buying a gun on credit and setting out to protect his family by all means, even if it includes armed robbery and a desperate heist.
  • Sinister Minister: Bishop Tony isn't as bad as the parishioners directly threatening the lives of Edgar and his family, but is still pretty blind to the family's plight, and brushes off Edgar's very real pleas of financial desperation by saying "Yeshua will provide!" He won't release Kaye's dad's donation to give to the irate creditors, and Edgar nearly strangles him over his refusal.
  • Traumatic Haircut: Angel comes home one day crying and embarrassed with her hair unevenly and uglily shorn by the family who lost their money to Kaye's dad's scheme. It's meant as a threat that they'll move on to worse. Edgar shows Angel he's on her side by shaving his own head, and evening out hers, and covering her head with a bonnet when visiting his family; it's not unusual to wear a head covering in the cold Mountain Province anyway. (Inevitably of course, some kid uncovers Angel and starts teasing her, however.)
  • Would Hurt a Child: The swindled family makes it clear to Edgar and Kaye that they won't be above hurting Angel if they don't pay up. In fact, they apparently give her a Traumatic Haircut to show they're not playing.


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