Jaime Soriano is a Filipino evangelical minister. His son, Jimmy (or Jaime, Jr.) is a student of Kali, a complex fighting style that involves using sticks and hands as weapons. While dad preaches, Jimmy works over a tire with wooden instruments of death. It’s an interesting juxtaposition, and it makes for a soulful black and white documentary about the different paths in life fathers and sons may take, though the paths may be more similar than they think.
There is little in the way of actual dialogue in “The Good Son.” Most of the story is told through shots of Jaime behind a makeshift pulpit and Jimmy lifting weights or sparring. Viewers will quickly understand what is being shown, though; if there’s one thing this short film does well, it’s exposing the different sides of the same coin. The symbolism, while not always subtle, is effective, and if viewers start to look for deeper meanings (issues of war being tied to religion and the young men who train to kill in those wars in comparison to the father and son), well, they will get even more out of this film. The one thing it lacks, however, is conflict.
Viewers will want to see more of these two men who seem to be some distance from each other emotionally. We will want to know what they think of each other and how they feel about each other’s goals in life. We see a bit of this, but not nearly enough. Granted, we get a good idea of what their lives are like and how they must feel, but we want to hear it from them.
“The Good Son” is a fine film, but it is one that is hampered by its silence.