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An Honest Review Of 'Indak'

It's a film about self-discovery and Filipino pride!
PHOTO: Indak/Viva Entertainment

The Long Plot, Sans Spoilers

Jen (Nadine Lustre), a Cebuana island girl, gets thrust into the spotlight when a video of her dancing aboard a boat suddenly goes viral. Jen's clip catches the attention of dance crew leader Vin (Sam Concepcion) and he invites her to join Indak Pinas, a Philippine dance group set to compete in South Korea. After hesitantly saying yes, Jen and the group experience a stream of setbacks and are forced to reevaluate their dreams, passions, and futures. How far are you willing to go for your passion? Will you follow the beat of your heart or let the music of life fade away? This one-of-a-kind dance musical answers all these questions and more.

The Short, Honest Plot

If you're expecting fairly entertaining dance sequences, a surprisingly catchy soundtrack, and a decent storyline, then this film is for you. You'd be surprised, you might even learn a few life lessons (and dance moves) as you shimmy out of the cinemas. Is Indak the Pinoy version of the Hollywood smash hit Step Up franchise? Watch it in the theaters and find out.


The Actors And Where You Last Saw Them

Nadine Lustre as Jen

If you haven't been living under a rock for the past decade, then you'd know that this multi-hyphenated star rose to fame when she played the role of Reah "Eya" Rodriguez in the 2014 film adaptation of the popular Wattpad story Diary Ng Panget. Since then, she has starred in various television shows and movies like Till I Met You (2016 to 2017) and Never Not Love You (2018) alongside her on and offscreen beau James Reid. In 2019, she starred opposite Carlo Aquino in the romantic drama Ulan.


Sam Concepcion as Vin

With theater actors as parents, it's no surprise that this singer-dancer-actor is born to be in the spotlight. He first burst into the Philippine entertainment scene when he won the Brightest Star Award in the Big Division of the 2005 singing competition Little Big Star. He continued to merge his love for music and acting onstage and onscreen with lead roles in the 2011 theater musical Peter Pan and the 2012 comedy-musical film I Do Bidoo Bidoo: Heto nAPO Sila!


Nicole Omillo as Steph

Fairly new to the showbiz industry, the former Sugar n Spice girl group member started her solo career by releasing soundtracks for the 2017 Viva TV horror series Tabi Po and the 2018 Viva romantic comedy film Mr. and Mrs. Cruz. Indak marks her first major acting role.


Did You Know?

1. Nadine got her start as a performer when she became a member of the 2009 Viva girl group Pop Girls. The then 15-year-old sang and danced her heart out in the group's first single "Crazy Crazy."

2. Sam starred in the 2004 Maggi commercial alongside his real dad, Raymund Concepcion. Who knew that the cute boy who rapped in the commercial will grow up to be a teen heartthrob?

3. If you've watched Indak, then you already know James Reid makes a specialalbeit funnycameo in the film. He even accompanied Nadine to the movie's premiere night.


What My Friends Think:

"The movie is full of life lessons as it does not only focus on pursuing a passion, but also on learning how to take the risk to go beyond what we think we can do without forgetting where we came from. That being said, transitions between scenes during the first half of the film seemed choppy and could be a point for improvement for the director's next films. But overall, I did enjoy watching the movie and I will surely recommend it to my family and friends." Bea

"The cinematography is great, and the soundtrack is also a bomb! I like how the movie is not the typical Filipino movie with a cliche ending; there are twists that made it interesting and unique! Sam Concepcion really stood out as Vin, proving he is indeed a triple threat with his superb singing, dancing, and acting skills. Nadine Lustre did an ~okay~ job in terms of dancing, but nonetheless, she made up for it through her acting, impressively portraying the character of Jen." Trish


What I Think:

As someone who grew up watching the Step Up franchise, the idea of a local dance flick excited me so much that I was already begging my friends to watch it with me the moment the movie came out. Dance movies are a guilty pleasure. The plot might just be meh but viewers would watch it over and over again for its high energy dance sequences, and that is exactly the case for me.

Indak focuses on multiple themes: love, family, passion, self-doubt, and self-discovery, set in the beautiful island of Bantayan and the cities of Manila and Seoul. But because the film wanted to do so much, most of the sub-plots seemed...underdeveloped. Jen and Vin's love story arc did not fully develop until they were belting out the song "Triangulo" in the latter part of the film, reminiscent of High School Musical's "Gotta Go My Own Way."


I also wish the writer explored the backstory of Jen's stage fright further as I would have liked to feel how palpable her fear of performing was and how joining the crew helped her overcome that.

What the movie follows through to the end is that this film is a story of self-discovery. The story starts with Jen sailing smoothly, seemingly content with her life as a tour guide in Bantayan Island. Vin's arrival caused her boat to rock, and soon, she was forced to make the decision to leave her hometown and venture into the exciting but terrifying unknown. The film reminds us that it is not in the stillness but in the strong waves and winds that we find our purpose and direction in life.


Jen was the most relatable out of all the characters in the film. She could not even afford to have dreams as certain realities, such as caring for a sick mother, forced her to focus on just getting by every single day. But knowing that dancing is her passion, Jen gives her 110 percent to make her dream a reality (despite jealous teammates, dead(?) lovers, and missing funds). That being said, I can't say the same for the other characters. The film failed to portray the crew members as three-dimensional characters. Even Sam's character, Vin, seemed to be too perfect for a film about self-discovery. Because of this, I found it hard to be fully invested in rooting for them to win the dance competition in South Korea.

If there are one (or two) things you should watch this film for, it would be the dance sequences and the OST. The choppy editing is forgivable as the multiple dance sequences were shot beautifully, as expected from the award-winning music video and concert director Paul Basinillo. My favorite dance sequence is Indak Pinas' vibrant and high energy Bantayan-inspired competition piece. Sam proved himself to be a total performer and Nadine's stage presence is one to commend as well. I must admit that I don't really listen to local music. But boy, did this film make me think twice! The upbeat songs are super catchy, but the mellow songs take the cake. I recommend you listen to Sam Concepcion's slower take on Sarah Geronimo's hit song "Ikot Ikot."


Lastly, I left the cinema with a sense of Filipino pride. The filmmakers were vocal about incorporating as much Filipino culture as they could in the movie; from the use of baybayin, the inclusion of Filipino songs, to the use of Cebuano in the dialogue. The film represents a ripple in the oversaturated Filipino romantic comedy film landscape and a move towards a more diverse film industry.

I'd Recommend It To:

  • Queen Nadine fans out there! It's wonderful to see Nadine take on a different role from what we are used to seeing her do. She kills it, as expected from the three-time Best Actress winner.
  • Indak should also be in the must-watch list of Samsters (Sam Concepcion fans) as the film showcases how versatile Sam is as an actor and a performer.
  • Step Up or any dance movie fanatics, because Indak contains all the elements of a memorable dance flick you wouldn’t mind rewatching from time to time.

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