An impressionistic nightmare which shows no restraint in its presentation of violence, On The President's Orders details the extra-judicial killings under the regime of President Duterte and his heinous "war on drugs" with the proper sense of poignancy and urgency this subject matter requires. Expansive in its discursive strategies yet pointed in exposing the intrinsic problems with punishment, the few ethical critiques I've seen about this film I honestly find quite baffling. To call the filmmaker's rich aesthetic design " boasting" or "unnecessary" completely misses the point, as this design is instrumental in evoking the sadness, degradation and oppression felt by those the film empowers through its visual medium of expression. The whole aesthetic creates an immersive experience - tension, unease, and outright terror traverse the documentary format, detailing how the poor are always the ones subjugated the worst by any state policy fixated around some intangible sense of morality or consumption. The rhetoric of President Duterte and its polemics reverberates throughout the entire state apparatus, empowering violence by the state via the police, with the less fortunately almost always being the easiest target. Exposes the facade of safety and/or discipline when exhibited from a place of authority, the carceral state incapable of reform due to its intrinsic need to punish. But hey, if you just obey the law, you know?
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