The movie "Norte" was thoughtful and thought provoking. But it did not have to be that long. Four hours is to extremely test an audience's patience. Could snip a few seconds here, a few minutes there ? in many scenes ? to make editing tighter, so it would not drag and last an abusive four hours. The movie was quite slow in developing characters and themes. Too much fuss in so many scenes. For examples, it took too long to open that plastic bag of bread, it took too long to light up that cigarette. It took too long to watch that fire burn in the distance. What's the significance of that? Nice Ilocano song in jail, but did you have to play it in full?
There's too much sophomoric discourse on philosophies, history, revolution, and politics, or maybe I'm just too old for that.
On the plus side, there were lots of beautiful Ilocos scenes and slices of life that you can only see in the provinces. That's refreshing. The movie's intention is laudable. It tackled social issues and life questions seldom seriously discussed by our usual melodramatic Tagalog movies. But Norte became melodrama because it dragged. It dragged in many scenes, I felt bored more than once. Those aerial drone shots were crude and amateurish.
Superb acting there by Sid Lucero, as Fabian, in that prayer fellowship meeting.
Twice I saw red skinned people and I did not think White Balance was off because other color in other elements were fine, only the skin of an old man in once scene and an old woman in another was red. What happened?
In that seaside scene where Fabian rode a banca, I noticed that the boatman rowed two strokes on the left and two strokes on the right, repeatedly. Ganun ba managwan ang Ilokano? The Bisaya and Tausug will teach you that you can paddle a banca on just one side without the boat veering left or right, with a little counter-sway.
Overall, though, I would still recommend that the movie be watched because it was thoughtful and thought provoking, if you have the patience to watch a full movie in four hours. There is directorial talent here. I sat through the credits at movie's end and I think I know why the movie got to be that long; film editing was also by the director, Lav Diaz. I don't know him or her from Gloria Diaz or Paquito Diaz, but I think he should get his/her hands off film editing if he's also directing