The Bet Collector

The Bet Collector, a Philippines film, follows the life of Amy, an uncanny saleswoman who runs around town convincing people to part with their hard earned cast by placing bets on the illegal game of Jueteng, or by collecting money for the families of recently deceased locals to cover the funeral costs. This film had a really great central topic to base its story around – Jueteng. Despite the fact that it’s banned, everyone it seems is addicted to it, even the police who are responsible for ensuring it doesn’t take place. However, although the game is referenced to right throughout the film, it doesn’t play as bigger role as I would have hoped. Instead, the film is basically about Amy’s troubles – endless cycles of poverty, corruption, and trying to avoid the cops. It has some funny moments – Amy is constantly working out potentially winning numbers based on situations that happen around her (for instance, when a boy gets scared by a frog he thinks is a snake, she puts a bet on 12 and 9 for frog and coward). There is also some humorous chase and hiding sequences, as the Jueteng players and bookies think that the police are near. By overall, this was a pretty disappointing film. There seemed to be not point to the film – or at least, if there was one, I didn’t pick up. The film made reference to Amy’s dead son quite a bit, but I’m not exactly sure why. The film had a very documentary feel to it – especially at the beginning, and as a result, everything looked very real and natural. It had some dramatic moments – for example, there was a shooting sequence – but it didn’t really seem to help propel the story. It felt like more of an observational film about a whole lot of people addicted to a game they called Jueteng.