The Grown-up Gangster5:47 AM
These are too much of definitions if we talk about Daniel Padilla and his character in Star Cinema's "She's Dating The Gangster." Let go of our unrealistic glossary. We're not gonna see dirty sidewalks of slums and men in leather jackets here. In pop culture, the word "gangster" evolved from frightening to cute just as how the KathNiel tandem is evolving from being a teen craze to being serious actors.
Yes, you read that. "Serious actors," I said. They're not there yet if we will consider what our theater instructors taught us in college but in a showbiz industry populated with hundreds of young faces, Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla are in the talented little portion of TV's young generation. In this movie, they exhibited growth. The undeniable chemistry radiated further, this time without the need for pick up and other cheesy lines. It was just them being faithful to their characters.
Finally, Daniel wasn't monotone. When we are used to hearing him speak and sing with a barely opened mouth (remember "Ne-se-ye Ne Eng Le-het"?), it's refreshing to see him here pouring unrestrained emotions. I know his bad boy charms are swooning young girls over but I think they would agree that he is more adorable when he opens up, filling the big screen with his already expressive gaze and more sincere uttering of dialogues. The swag that we don't see on anyone among the young actors today is still there, but Daniel used these fascinating gestures on where they matter in the movie. Let's just not talk about the wig. For the purpose of story adherence, that's forgiven.
While we see improvement from Daniel, Kathryn Bernardo took off steady. You'll be reminded so much of Got To Believe's Chichay here. She was bubbly and colorful with every screen appearance endearing but nothing extraordinary. Well, it would be too much if we expect from her in such a light, teeny-bopper material. Big props to her styling team for giving her those several costume changes (more than 30, but I lost count) which traversed through fun and hip, retro and contemporary and of course, story relevance. She was perfectly dressed throughout.
Probably rivaling the Toni Gonzaga and John Lloyd Cruz- starrer "My Amnesia Girl", the shots in "She's Dating The Gangster" should be Star Cinema's most delicious! Everything was pretty. The overexposed Mayon Volcano still stole gasps from me and that road trip from Manila to Legazpi City was so picturesque that you'd love to jump on the next ride to Bicol. I give you caution for what could be an overload of beautiful images but as if the first 90 minutes were not enough, the finale scene of Richard Gomez and Dawn Zulueta is nothing short of jaw-dropping.
Speaking of the timeless romantic team-up of Richard and Dawn, their presence added importance to the movie. In the onset, we thought it's just going to be an all-KathNiel show and that it was just another story of a spoiled rich boy who changed when he fell in love to a sick girl. The final stretch elevated the status of the movie from being teen-oriented to romantic drama. With just a few scenes, Dawn was memorable and Richard Gomez is still attractive after all these years.
To be honest, I was not sure if I should watch 'Gangster' on the big screen. I became curious though when positive comments were everywhere on Facebook and Twitter. Watching the movie was a worthy bargain from my resting time. I told my partner that we can try to be KathNiel fans for a day. It looks like my being a fan will be extended.