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By Heinrich Domingo

After Jim Libiran’s Ninja Party brouhaha, it is difficult to watch again an independent film that speaks of house parties. Yet, Director Jill Singson Urdaneta proved that he can tackle more than alcohol and women’s breasts. His film brings the audience into a psychedelic experience brought by the excessive use of drugs. Through its simple yet effective method, the crowd is given a first-hand experience of being on cloud nine.

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A meth head couple (played Kiko Matos and Angela Cortez) invites a guest (Felix Roco) for a house party. During their session, backstories of the characters are revealed offering to the viewers a glimpse on who they really are. It is a story that digs deep on the personality of drug users and how illegal drugs lure many middle class Filipinos.

The film is consistent on how it wishes to tell its story. All elements are focused towards the feeling of getting high and the eventual path towards sobriety. It is not ambitious and it knows until where the storyline could dig. Although the movie teaches no concrete lesson, its narrative is still complete and easy to follow.

First-time director Jill Urdaneta works under the principle of showing less is showing more. His plot includes only important details and all scenes are necessary for the development of the story. Notably, nudity scenes are necessary.

With limited cast, its main acts needed to give an all-out performance. Luckily, Kiko, Angela, and Felix gave one. Kiko Matos’ acting here and in Dahling Nick makes him one of the actors to watch for. Felix Roco, as always, realistically portrays his role. And, Angela Cortez’s performance was just right and complementing. Each of them enlivened their characters without inhibitions. This made the movie entertaining.

The film treatment is not everyone’s cup of tea. For one, the topic of drug usage and abuse is not familiar to majority of cinema-goers. The cinematography includes psychedelic images to portray the distortion of space-time continuum. Most of the time, the screen flashes colorful moving images which are too dizzying to watch. But, this is the purpose of the film. It wishes to bring the crowd in a state of being high.

Partee is quite a good start for its neophyte director. Although it has a lot of elements to improve on (especially its screenplay), it is a decent movie that clearly delivers its message.  Despite failing to actually bring the audience into cloud nine, it is still a remarkable film.

3.5 stars