REVIEW: Jasmine Curtis sizzles as dominatrix in Never Tear Us Apart

Jasmine Curtis-Smith is cast as a dominatrix in the movie Never Tear Us Apart. Ricky Davao and Meryll Soriano play a couple in this Cinema One Originals 2018 entry. 


Originally launched with the title Fisting, the Cinema One Originals 2018 entry Never Tear Us Apart by Whammy Alcazen provides an intimate glimpse into the lives of an aging spy and his family. Ricky Davao stars as the aging spy, and Meryll Soriano as his wife. There’s also the Shadow, a serial killer that preys upon promiscuous women.

THE GOOD

If you are looking for something different, something out of the ordinary, Never Tear Us Apart might be for you.

Given its format, watching the movie is an extraordinary experience in itself. Shot entirely using iPhones and framed in portrait orientation, the film looks like several layers of Instagram stories clumped together to form a narrative. It's as if someone invaded the privacy of this family and documented their most intimate moments. And we mean intimate—depiction of promiscuity is graphic, and the intricacy of details is not for the faint of heart.

The film is peppered with clips from old American commercials and other old school pop culture references. There’s a lot of eye candy, but that's just the icing on top of the cake.

As you go deeper into the story, you realize that there’s more to it than what its original title implies. While there is a lot of promiscuity in Never Tear Us Apart—courtesy of Agent Q, his wife, and their gay son, Alex—that’s not the whole point.

The sight of two guys humping each other isn’t nearly as compelling as the discontent, unhappiness, and overwhelming gloom that surround this affluent family. Everything happens for a reason, they say, and these emotions trigger every single outburst, mistake, or adventure the main characters engage in.

The dialogue, written in English, is eloquent and goes well with the family’s supposed affluence.

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THE BAD

Although it isn’t necessarily a bad thing, this film is definitely not for everybody. If you’re into traditional narratives and you prefer your viewing wide and bright and sunny, you will not like Never Tear Us Apart.

You may find layer upon layer of IG stories distracting, and miss the point of the sequence. The treatment appears similar to a slideshow featuring random clips and the voices of the lead stars.

There's very little of Ricky, Meryll, and Jasmine's faces in this project; they are not seen clearly in the shots. And when they are shown, they get cropped out of the frame.

The fate of the Shadow is not entirely resolved, leaving a loose end to the story.

THE WORTHY

Never Tear Us Apart stands out because it does not even attempt to conform to whispered conventions of local mainstream cinema. It’s a reckless, unapologetic, YOLO kind of experimental.

There are stunning—oftentimes trippy—visuals, and folded into them are elements that symbolize truths about the human condition. This is a film that bewilders and makes people think.

Meryll Soriano and Ricky Davao may seem an unlikely couple, but they make quite a pair as an unhappy one. Their unorthodox habits add color to their boring individual lives, as well as the entirety of the film.

Jasmine Curtis-Smith as a role-playing dominatrix commands not only attention, but also respect. Sexy but not skanky, dangerous and yet provocative. Probably no other actress could get away with wearing black patent leather and cracking a whip and still look classy—as Jasmine did in this film.
  

Ed's Note: The "PEP Review" section carries the views of individual reviewers, and does not necessarily reflect the views of the PEP editorial team.



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