Director: Tikoy Aguiluz
Running time: 111 minutes
Synopsis and Evaluation
During the mid 90s to early 21st century, we saw the advent of ST films which populated the local movie scene. Film outfits such as Seiko and Viva released countless films with the intention to titillate the audience particularly the male ones. Suggestive movie titles such as Patikim ng Pinya and Sutla became household names for their playful meaning in the context of sex. I was young back then meaning I can’t view these kinds of films legally. The only consolation that I could get is that I didn’t miss a lot. Many of these films are dirty, substance-less, horrible and boring.
But I did miss one particularly significant film. For many, this is a movie that would fall under the umbrella of ST films if they didn’t give this a chance to show its worth. I remember this was marketed as a sex romp like many sex flicks back then. This was even rated by the ever-reliable MTRCB with an “X” rating. I was young so I don’t know yet how inept MTRCB was and is. And I always associate a movie with an “X” rating to a plethora of lascivious scenes which a movie can do without.
Having watched Segurista (Dead Sure) thirteen years after its theatrical release, it’s worth the wait. And like many great Filipino films, the issues tackled in the film very much apply to our current Philippine landscape.
Segurista is the story of Karen Fernandez (Michelle Aldana), an insurance agent by day and a guest relations officer (GRO) by night. She secures insurance policies from her wealthy clients in exchange for a steamy night with her. Aldana has that sultry, sophisticated and devilish vibe but still retains the “probinsyana” vibe that is perfect for the role of Karen. One of her clients, Sonny Santos (Gary Estrada), fell in love with her after several nights of steamy encounters (allow me to add that the two-minute sex scene between Aldana and Estrada is one of the hottest I have ever seen in Philippine cinema and there’s even no nudity on that particular scene). The problem is, Karen is already married and has a kid back in Pampanga. She hides her true personality and background to her clients and officemates to protect her family and her own dignity. Given the nature of her job, she still has self-respect for herself evident when she was devastated with the use of the word “puta” to describe her. She is strong and confident outside but a very fragile individual in reality.
Segurista portrays the kapit-sa-patalim way of life of many Filipinos where they are forced to do something against their wills just to survive and give their family a good life. It’s conveyed throughout the film that Karen did not want this kind of life since she repeatedly says that once she reaches her target of a million peso, she would finally settle with her family in Pampanga. This is not something she’s doing for fun unlike Ruby Dimagiba (Ruby Moreno).
This film also conveys that such way of life, while the consequences are not imminent at the onset, will slowly devour an individual away one way or another. One’s dignity, self-respect, reputation, health or even life is at risk with a life like Karen’s — a horrible journey that would only lead to its miserable and tragic ending.
While the rest of the cast is good, Aldana carries this film all by herself. Karen is a complex character who must show a great deal of sexuality, confusion, emotional baggage, deceptive qualities and fragility and Aldana carried her well. Pete Lacaba and Tikoy Aguiluz crafted a tragic tale which is powerful, compelling and relevant.
The Final Word
Segurista is one of the best films I have ever seen in my life. This is a top-notch film from start to finish. It’s still relevant especially in the current Philippine milieu. It’s greatly paced, superbly acted and a beautiful story with a very memorable ending. Segurista is a winner — and I’m dead sure of that.