Verdict was the official Philippine entry to the International Film Category for the Oscars in 2020 and the deserved winner of the prestigious Horizons Special Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival. It is in good company – previous winners include 2015’s Free In Deed, and Court (2014), about the Indian legal system. Verdict is equally compelling, an affecting examination of the dubious notion of ‘justice for all’.
Filmed in a semi-documentary style, Verdict stars Max Eigenman, who won an Asia Pacific award for her bruised, and bruising, role, and Kristoffer King, who sadly died last year. The timely film casts an unflinching gaze at a difficult subject, too often ignored – the dark heart of male violence and its appalling consequences; and how the law courts seems to favour only the fortunate and connected – with barely a concern for the victims.
Gutierrez’s remarkably confident debut feature is extremely real, at times, blood-boilingly infuriating, and demands to be seen.