Watch List is one of those films that pulls no punches when it comes to realism. For some, that's a great thing, like when watching a period piece or war drama. However, when the true-to-life aspects of a movie revolve around something like Philippine's President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs, it hits the viewer with the equivalent to brass knuckles covered in razor blades and dripping with lemon juice. There's the impact, the bleeding, then the sting.
This is not a bad thing by any stretch. It is, however, a challenge for an audience that may be in a comfort zone thanks to several paint-by-numbers crime dramas where there's always a silver lining, if not a happy ending. Coming away from this film, I was glad to have my expectations broken because the outcome reflected the very real situation these people have been facing for years. Alessandra de Rossi shines in the dual role of a loving mother and naive vigilante.
The gray area of morality abounds in Watch List, showing off all the pros and cons of walking the edge between being morally right and criminally wrong at the same time.
I was fortunate enough to speak to the film's director, Ben Rekhi, in-depth about this film and the subsequential social contract that forms between a filmmaker and the audience.
Watch List will have a virtual theatre release on August 21st and will be available via VOD on September 1st.
After her husband is mysteriously killed in the drug wars of the Philippines, a widowed mother of three must confront her own darkness to protect her children from further harm.