GomBurZa (2024) Movie Review – An illuminating historical drama

An illuminating historical drama

Gomburza is a Filipino period drama on Netflix that tells the story of the events that happened before the start of the struggle for independence in the Philippines. The film opens with a story about a priest, Hermano Pule, who started the secular priest in the country after he was turned down from joining the Spanish priesthood because of his race.

The story, told by Father Pedro Palaez to his student Jose Burgos and friend Mariano Gomez, takes centre stage and introduces a struggle among the priests where the Friars seek to take control of the secular churches. Before his death, Father Palaez tries to fight for the independence of secular churches and equality in the treatment of Filipino priests.

However, his death gives the Friars a chance to tarnish his name and brand him a rebel against Spanish rule in the Filipino colony. His death spikes a subtle outrage in his disciple, Father Jose Burgos, and he writes a manifesto for the Filipinos in the newspaper defending Father Palaez. The manifesto begins with the ensuing events that led to the martyrdom of the three priests, Mariano Gomez, Jose Burgos, and Jacinto Zamora. 

The premise unquestionably argues that the roots of the fight for independence from the Spanish colonial rule in the Philippines are found in the catholic priests. In this regard, the film delves into the complexities of the struggle for equality in the church split into four parts, including the beginning of the rift between the secular priests and the friars, the consequences of the spread of liberalism, the failed mutiny, and the repercussions that lead to the execution of the priests.

The film’s straightforwardness makes it easy for the international community to understand. However, linearity is also the film’s weakness since it only gives so much information and falters in delivering the emotional aspect. The writers effectively juggle between the various significant groups in this time and their essential roles in the events leading to the martyrdom.

Gomburza’s brilliance is primarily highlighted through the performances of its characters. Jose Burgos takes centre stage as he carries the engaging aspects of the film in his convincing performance. He is the embodiment of frustrations for the Filipino people during the times of colonial rule. He is liberal and daring but also cautious and influential, and his death catalyses a revolution.

Consequently, Pedro Palaez leaves a lasting impression despite the limited screen time as he embodies a character with the resolve to stand his ground and object to oppression. The students Felipe Buencamino and Paciano Mercado add a refreshing note to the film as their performances affirm the notions of hope that the government constantly nipped at the bud.

Father Mariano Gomez is the voice of reason here, and his excellent portrayal stands out. However, the character of Father Jacinto Zamora barely scratches the surface, as he is portrayed as a carefree spirit without any depth. The editing is not without faults, which leads to disjointed feelings from one chapter to the next. In addition, other than Jose Burgos, all the other characters are loosely written in that the writers made them feel like background characters, while their complexities could give the film more impact if given more depth. Nonetheless, Gomburza is a great film about Filipino history that is a must-watch. 


Read More: GomBurZa Ending Explained

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  • Verdict - 7.5/10

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