Technically promising pero may kulang. It is an ambitious film project that is half-cooked and built on a foundation that isn’t that sturdy to begin with. ‘Silong’ tried to be so many things but in the end, it didn’t fly as high as it envisioned it would. It’s a brave attempt to bring something different pero di naluto nang maayos ang konsepto nito para ma-consider na isang success.
SYNOPSIS: (from IMDB) Doctor Miguel Cascarro (Pascual) is still mourning the death of his wife Caroline (Jacob) while he scrambles to save his family home from creditors. As he drives home one day, he finds a badly beaten and bloody Valerie (Ramos) on a deserted country road and takes her home to nurse her back to health.
DIRECTOR: Jeffrey Hidalgo & Roy Sevilla Ho
GENRE: Suspense, Thriller, Romance
CAST: Rhian Ramos| Piolo Pascual | Guji Lorenzana | Angel Jacob
Paano mo nga ba masasabing kilala mo na ang isang tao? How fast can you trust someone? Eh ikaw? Gaano mo kakilala ang sarili mo? What are your most kept secrets?
Sa umpisa pa lang, naideklara na ng creative heads sa likod ng Silong—Jeffrey Hidalgo (director) at Roy Sevilla Ho (writer/director)—na ang pelikula nila ay isang malaking character study. Sa gitna ng sigawan ng fans, sabi ng bidang si Piolo Pascual sa opisyal na pagsasara ng Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival, “Sana mainlove kayo sa mga characters ng pelikula.” At the end of the movie though, Piolo’s request sounded a bit weird. But of course, we know what he meant by that.
In the quiescence of a gloomy house nestled in an unidentified location, a distraught man was sitting in the dark. Magsisimula ang pelikula sa lead character nitong si Miguel (played by Pascual). Sa mga sumunod na frames, sasagutin ng narrative kung bakit ganun na lang ka-pintado ng kalungkutan ang mukha niya. As the movie progresses, we then peel off layers of Miguel Cascarro’s character, a former doctor grieving the loss of his wife (played by Angel Jacob). Bukod sa utang, patuloy na nilalamon ng dilim ng kalungkutan at kawalan ng pag-asa ang pagkatao ni Miguel. Dito papasok ang kaniyang natitirang confidante at link to the outside world (a small role played by Guji Lorenzana), na tutulungan siyang maibenta ang malaking bahay.
The monotony of his life in misery and grief gets an unexpected break as, by happenstance, a wounded woman appears right in front of his moving car on his way home. Takot na takot at nanghihina, magmamakaawa ang babaeng ito, na makikilala natin bilang si Valerie (played by Rhian Ramos). It is at that very moment when we see the two paths cross. Under the dimly-lit, decrepit clinic, Dr. Cascarro will take the unconscious Valerie under his care. Lo and behold, doon magsisimulang magkaroon ng unexpected complications ang buhay ng doktor. Ang simpleng pagtulong ay magbubunga ng pagtingin. Ang pagtingin ay magiging mas malalim na samahan hanggang sa marating natin ang rurok ng pelikula na magbubukas ng Pandora’s Box of secrets.
Kuwento ito ng mga tumatakas at ng mga tinatakasan/iniiwan.
The two characters find shelter in one another and this, in so many levels, is the heart of the movie. The minute the two paths cross, questions on desertion and isolation get unraveled. Ano ba ang mas masalimuot? Ang maramdaman mong wala ka nang ibang choice kundi ang tumakas at magpakalayo? O ang maramdaman mong lahat ng mahalaga sa’yo ay nawawala sa’yo?
Valerie’s story, as she narrates it to Miguel, is about constantly fighting her way out of an abusive relationship. On the other hand, Miguel is nursing the pain inflicted by his wife’s tragedy. Later on, he will let us in even further, at malalaman natin ang mas malalim niyang pasakit: ang paglisan ng kaniyang ina. This pattern of loss has since put a scar on him. Dealing with these levels of pain not only consumes you, it changes you. And this is evidenced by how damaged the two appeared to be. They are confronted by the saddening truth that they are facing life alone: one is constantly trying to flee for freedom, while the other is getting used to a life in isolation. However, together, hahayaan nilang mahubaran ang kanilang mga pagkatao, in an attempt to find comfort and acceptance in each other’s wounded characters. This leads us to the shift to the darker portions of the movie that posed questions to the viewers, “Gaano niyo sila kakilala? Nagpadala ka ba sa kung anumang pagpapakilala nila sa mga sarili nila?”
Yung una ay ‘yung pleasant surprise that will make you jump out of your seat. At mayroon rin namang nararamdaman mo nang paparating kasi may bread crumbs of hints na iniiwan ang direktor sa progression ng pelikula leading to that, “I knew it” moment. Mayroon ang Silong ng pareho nito. But we wouldn’t elaborate more as you would be missing the point of the whole mind exercise that is watching the movie. (Although kung binabasa mo ‘to, aasahan mo nang may twist sa pelikula, which is equally nakakaasar, kaya sorry na rin!)
The slow ascent to the film’s denouement—the grand unspooling of deeper-grounded revelations—is somewhat laudable. Yung tipong kung akala mong nanunuod ka lang ng blossoming of bond and understanding sa pagitan ng dalawang strangers, ay dadalhin ka sa isang unexpected turn. Refreshing man siya (considering these are two big actors involved and a promising commercial run looming), mapapatanong ka sa motivation behind this.
While there are back stories that are thrown out there for viewers—either in a flashback or as declared in a character’s dialogue—nagmukhang forced at contrived ito. Kahit pa siguro mayroong ganitong “explanation” kung ano ang pinanggagalingan ng mga karakter sa kuwento, hindi mo sila masakyan kasi ang babaw ng pagkakahabi ng mga characters. Hindi mo talaga sila kilala. Hindi mo masasabi sa sarili mo na “Kaya naman pala.” Kumbaga, para kang nagtayo ng isang matayog na building sa mahinang klase nang lupa. Kahit anong tatag ng pundasyong ginamit sa kontruksiyon, di pa rin ito magiging matatag. May kulang. Bibigay at bibigay ito. It looks like the creative team has one “promising thought”, and from that, pinahaba na lang ang “idea” to make it to more than an hour instead na pinagyabong at pinagmature ito bago pitasin.
The movie is packaged as a “romantic-thriller.”
If only for its technical triumphs
or for its intent to showcase something that is far
from what the two lead actors have done in their
bodies of work, di rin naman malaking kasayangan
ng oras ang panunuod ng pelikula.
Unfortunately, literal ang pagkakagamit ng dash sa genre ng pelikula. May apparent segmentation ang pelikula na, in the long run, didn’t appear as seamless as it could’ve been. Para kang nanunuod ng dalawang magkaibang short films. Maiintindihan mong may intensiyong mag-set up muna ng tension before diving straight into the heart of the storm, although, pagdating sa execution, naging confused at kalat ang treatment nito rather than maging layered at may character.
Technically, okay naman ang movie. The overall feel was built around creating a certain level of mystery and so it did in the way the scenes were lighted and the way the cameras moved. Hindi nga lang nito naachieve nang buo ang paggawa ng believable dimension gaya ng mundo nila Pilar, Joven at Ito sa Nasaan Ka Man (directed by Cholo Laurel) at maging ang spooky milieu sa The Road (directed by Yam Laranas). The setting felt more like a series of “set locations” rather than a fully-developed world, at dito na nga siguro pumapasok yung pagka-bagito bilang mga direktor nila Hidalgo at Ho.
Piolo’s acting is very Piolo Pascual and that is a not a good thing. You can see him “acting” a certain role rather than transforming into his role. His tone, his movements, the look in his eyes, among other nuances, you have seen him “act” this way in his past work. Hindi believable na doktor siya (or, in this case, nagretirong doktor). Di gaya nang kung paano mong paniniwalaang ilang taon nang nagbebenta ng longganisa o nangungubra sa jueteng si Gina Pareno, o si Vilma Santos bilang dating OFW o ekstra sa pelikula, at maging si Martin Escudero bilang maton na isinumpa para maging bakla. Rhian Ramos left us wanting for more. She did fair in terms of developing a subtle yet believable attack on a role that has already been performed in the past. May mga moments nga lang na either bumabalik siya sa kaniyang teleserye roots o bumibigay naman siya sa pagtackle sa bigat ng karakter niya, given the gravity of events that Valerie, the character, has been in.
All in all, hindi groundbreaking pero hindi rin naman patapon ang Silong. If only for its technical triumphs or for its intent to showcase something that is far from what the two lead actors have done in their bodies of work, di rin naman malaking kasayangan ng oras ang panunuod ng pelikula. What is more exciting to see is kung paanong maggu-grow into more mature filmmakers and story tellers ang mga taong nasa likod ng pelikula. ♦