Helmed by Joseph Abello, Cinema One Originals Film Festival 2018 entry Double Twisting Double Back takes a glimpse into the life of gymnast Badger and the demons he has to struggle with. One of today's hottest young actors, Tony Labrusca, portrays Badger, while fellow hunk Joem Bascon takes on his most challenging but favorite role to date. The film’s title is actually a gymnastic maneuver, and one of the hardest tricks in the sport. Its double meaning unfolds once you get to catch the film.
[related: Daily Diaries: How Tony Labrusca Redefines Being A "Mama’s Boy"]
From ML his first film via Cinemalaya just this year, Tony jumps from one film fest entry to another and once again the lead at that. His character Badger, besides being mentally and emotinally challenging, poses an even bigger physical challenge with the gymnastics aspect. "I’m quite lucky that my two years of gymnastic experience as a teen came in handy," Tony tells me. "But the whole experience of filming was really fun for me even though it was really challenging in all aspects."
Tony easily exudes this natural innocence that Badger needs, making the character all the more relatable and endearing. The actor goes on to tell us how much of Badger he sees in himself, "Badger is such a relatable character for everyone who just wants to be good at what their doing but their harsh reality just catches up with them but I can relate most to his social awkwardness, which a lot of people may beg to disagree, but I really am. I also can relate to him just wanting to be a good guy but at the same time having so many triggers around him 'cause I also easily get triggered."
Tony and Joseph, both being gymnasts, organically take you into their competitive world of sweated up foam mattresses. Giving you a slice of a day in the life of these unsung sports heroes, the tandem lets you in on their plight and their struggles when it comes to choosing their passion or what fills their pockets. Furthermore, the movie discusses each person’s id and goes into pychological territories and also brushes lightly on the political issues when it comes to sports. Both heartstopping and gruesome, at times.
"I wanted to make a film about mastery and since I was also into gymnastics, I chose this field which is rarely tackled on film," Joseph tells me. "The next question was, what was gonna be the conflict? So, I delved into the psyche of an athlete to find out who their biggest antagonist was and not surprisingly it was their self. Now, how do I visualize this conflict, that’s what you have to see in the film."
The product? A psychological thriller of sorts that need not much violence to amp up the excitement, well, save for the glorious final act or scene. It reminds me in a way of how Clint Eastwood was able to take us into the world of rugby via Invictus, making it so engaging that you’re always at the edge of your seat while watching the game. Double Twisting Double Back also has hints of inspiration from Fight Club and Primal Fear, and if you’ve seen all these fims I’ve mentioned, then I’ve already painted a picture for you of what the film looks and feels like.
Joseph only has all good things to say about his actors—especially Tony, He reveals, "He was very dedicated and hardworking on set and sometimes he’d even beg for another chance to do a scene. He felt that he could give more. Joem, was also very professional and was just as dedicated. As you can see, he gave his all in this film."
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Photos courtesy of Shandii Bacolod