Felix Salonga (Khalil Ramos) is an outsider in his own school. In his eyes, no one is worth befriending, no one is interesting enough to pay attention to. But this changed when the Snyder brothers, Magnus (Ethan Salvador) and Maxim (Jameson Blake) transferred to their school. The two troublemakers form a relationship with Felix and things started to change. 2 Cool is a mixture of friendship, love, family, death, and a coming-of-age film. It carries a lot of themes with it but Petersen Vargas and Jason Paul Laxamana managed to create a motion picture that will make you laugh, sad, surprised, and even horrified.
From the get go, the first thing you will notice is the gorgeous cinematography and fresh, mellow beats. 2 Cool has top notch technicals. There are tons of beautiful shots that make you want to pause the film, screen grab the frame, and hang it on your wall. Every scene looks like a painting and it truly is a visually stunning film. The music also reflects the visuals of the story. It is atmospheric, vibrant and yet, subtle.
Apart from the technicalities, 2 Cool hits all the mark in terms of storytelling and writing. The first act of the film is a heartfelt coming-of-age story about an outsider and how he found his first friend and developing feelings for him. The development of Felix’s feelings for Magnus was told through the subtle glances and smile of Felix. The way the two are spending their time together, and the way Felix looks at Magnus, everything looks like a typical budding love story. Boy falls in love with his first friend and everything rolls from there.
But that is the first act of the film. Remember, this is a film written by Jason Paul Laxamana (Mercury is Mine, The Coffin Maker, The Spider’s Lair). You do not enter his world without being thrown off guard with the sudden turn of events. Suddenly, the tone of the film changed and we are being dragged in a rabbit hole. From a budding friendship that is somehow developing to something more, it changed to a family drama/thriller, and there is murder involved. Although the change of tone may be off putting at first, looking deeper into it, the theme is still there: Desperation. The characters are all desperate for something, whether it’d be friendship or a better life. They are all connected by the similarity of their motivations and suddenly, the shift of tone, of mood, is not so bad anymore. If it was not for a good writing and great execution, the film could have crumbled midway but they managed to glue the story and every elements worked the way they are supposed to.
2 Cool is not flooded with dialogues. Lines are not being thrown every time the characters are on the screen. The film tells its story through the actions of the characters and how they react to their situations. A film does not need an overloaded dialogue, it only needs a solid direction and remarkable performances.
Khalil Ramos shined in this role. A simple twitching of his mouth bears so much meaning and emotion that helped in making his character human. His transparency is so effective in this film because again, there is not much dialogue involved here therefore, the actions and emotions should carry the story forward. And Ramos did this perfectly. It is easy to detect his emotions – from happiness, sadness, frightened, and desperation. He carried the story from beginning to end in an effective manner. A brilliant performance for a brilliant story.
2 Cool looks like Xavier Dolan (Mommy, I Killed My Mother, Laurence Anyways) greatest hits rolled into one. An ode to the great works of the French director, 2 Cool is still able to stand on its own and tell a story that will bring you to the edge of your seat, crush your heart, and long for more.
2 Cool 2 Be 4gotten is a dark story with vibrant cinematography and music. It does not tell the story through words, instead it tells its story through images – their glances, smiles, and even their smallest actions. Brilliantly written, beautifully shot, masterfully directed, 2 Cool 2 Be 4gotten is one indie film you will never forget.