With impeccable production values and a truly great performance by the lead actor, Cesar Montano, "Jose Rizal" is the equal of anything that Hollywood can produce.
The movie tells the life story of Jose Rizal, the national hero of thePhilippines. It covers his life from his childhood to his execution at the hands of the Spanish forces occupying the Philippines in thelate 19th century. We are also thrown into the world of Rizal's novels, so we get a glimpse of how he viewed Filipino society under the Spanish heal.
He is arrested by the Spanish authorities upon his return to the Philippines in 1892. He is sent to Dapitan in Mindanao where the Spanish authorities can keep a watchful eye on him. It is there that the meets the love of his life, Josephine Bracken, although the movie does not devote much attention to this love affair. When a rebellion breaks out in 1896 the Spanish governor orders that Rizal be moved to the prison in Manila.
It is here that Rizal is introduced to Luis Taviel (played by Jaime Fabregas) who has been appointed to defend him at his trial. Taviel is a Spanish officer who at first mistrusts Rizal and views him as a dangerous revolutionary. Most of the movie takes place in Rizal's prison cell and involves Taviel confronting him about his life. There are frequent flashbacks but some of them are flashbacks to his novels,so it is sometimes hard to keep the order clear. Eventually Taviel learns to respect Rizal and he decides to do his best job in defending him.
But it is to no avail. The evil head of the Franciscan order in Manila arranges for a new governor to take over control of the Philippines. The new governor promptly orders a show trial where the outcome has...