The things that happened during the movie, “Smaller and Smaller Circles” which is inspired by a novel with the same title, is an eye-opener to all the Filipinos out there or to those people whose profession involves solving crimes. The thing that intrigued me the most is that the film is set in place in the Philippines, where crime fiction nor serial killers are rampant. The movie really depicts what is the situation in the Philippines if ever we have a serial killer and what if Jesuits runs the investigation.
First of all, the movie “Smaller and Smaller Circles” is a good movie which came from a great novel with the same title. I was amazed to the fact that the novel is created by a Filipino, Maria Felisa H. Batacan or most known as F.H. Batacan. Her novel, “Smaller and Smaller Circles” has been published in the Philippines and abroad, which led to it winning some local and international awards. Hearing all these really strengthen my pride as a Filipino. It is also a shame that there are limited amount of crime fiction movies or even stories that is set in the Philippines. You can even say that “Smaller and Smaller Circles” is one of a kind. Yet I also understand why there are very little of these things. It is very difficult and complicated to make a crime fiction that sets in the Philippines because is in here most of the crime goes unreported or unsolved due to the environment or due to bureaucratic issue. These problems were addressed during the movie when the investigator exclaimed, “What! Serial killer dito sa Pilipinas?” and when the Jesuit in charge of investigating explained to the mayor, “He targets these kids because when they go missing nobody will care” These just show that it is really hard to write a crime fiction that is set in the Philippines. I also like how F.H. Batacan used Jesuits to investigate instead of the normal regular cops. This little detail really made her novel and the movie, since they also implemented it there, to be hugely unique compare to the other crime fiction stories. It is wonderful how very little things can make a huge difference. I really liked the premise of the movie. It is just a shame that the movie flopped.
Before I express myself, let me tell you a summarization of the movie. The movie started off with the discovery of series of murders in Payatas dumpsite in Quezon City. These discoveries indicates that there is a serial killer on the loose. The government then sought the help of two Jesuits – Father Gus Saenz, a forensic pathologist and Father James Lucero, a clinical psychologist. They were sought by the NBI because of how they solved and kept an open mind during their last case. Then they worked on the case tin partner with the NBI, whose inefficiency becomes one of the major conflict in the movie. As the priests proceed with their investigation, they are forced to overcome several challenges, particularly due to bureaucratic issues. They then discovered that the victims are all just boys, all their genitals and faces are chopped off and they all were kill by the first Saturday of the month. These all can be then tied to the killer’s past experiences and the also to the victim’s. They then concluded that the killer is one of the kid’s health care professional and then they tracked him down, which later results to a wild police chase, the priest getting stabbed and the killer committing suicide. And thus the movie concluded.
For me the movie really depicts how it is in the Philippines if ever it has a serial killer on the loose or even any crime for that matter. There are just many problems that will arise and will hinder the progress of the investigation. The movie really showed this when the NBI doesn’t really care on who they catch as long as they get really close, get a confession and get publicity. These things also happen in real life where the police won’t make a careful decisions, capture the wrong guy, then later they realize their mistake, then open the case again but later on they will inevitably drop the case because of lack of funds, which happened because of their first mistake, and nobody really cares at this point of who the culprit is except for the victims. Philippines is just a poor country, which has many corrupt officials with their dirty cops on their pockets, to the point that this problem still occurs to this day.