TIFF Next Wave ’21: Our Review of ‘Death of Nintendo’

TIFF Next Wave ’21: Our Review of ‘Death of Nintendo’

Death of Nintendo, for its setting, uses the Philippines during the heyday of the original NES system. Or in this case, the Nintendo Family Computer (games know it better as Famicom), the Japanese predecessor to the NES. It uses the 90’s backdrop to tell the story of a group of pre-teen friends and their antics. Paolo (Noel Comia Jr), Gilligan (Jigger Sementilla), and Kachi (John Vincent Sevilla) have an obsession with video games. Other obsessions include their burgeoning interest in the opposite sex, and circumcision, yes you read that right, circumcision. Also along for the ride is Gilligan’s oft put upon sister Mimaw (Kim Chloe Oquendo). She pines for Paolo in secret.

Unfortunately, the Death of the film’s title is a long, ploddingly slow death in a mishmash of a film that never finds an even tone. The first hour of Death flips between coming of age film and gross-out comedy. There are also overbearing parents, possible gang indoctrination, and ghost story before settling down into a road trip movie for the last third. And the film flips between all of these tonal aspects with so little attention that outside of the final third of the film none of the story threads have any time to develop.

Thankfully all the child actors actually perform pretty good here despite the hampering of a poor script and unfocused vision from director Raya Martin, or else this film would be near unbearable to watch. And it’s Kim Chloe Oquendo’s stellar peformance that elevates the entire film beyond what it deserves.

Kirk Haviland
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"Kirk Haviland is an entertainment industry veteran of over 20 years- starting very young in the exhibition/retail sector before moving into criticism, writing with many websites through the years and ultimately into festival work dealing in programming/presenting and acquisitions. He works tirelessly in the world of Canadian Independent Genre Film - but is also a keen viewer of cinema from all corners of the globe (with a big soft spot for Asian cinema!)
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