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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Sep 24, 2015

Silong Review: A Feel Bad Movie With Very Warped Characters

WE WENT to Trinoma on the opening day of Brilliante Mendoza’s “Taklub” starring Nora Aunor and we got so disappointed when we were told that the screening was cancelled because there were no other viewers. In fact, all the other screenings were also cancelled since no one bought tickets. We felt so bad for Mendoza, who’s an internationally award-winning filmmaker, but who has yet to come up with a box office hit in local theaters. We also felt bad for Ate Guy. Where are all the avid Noranians who profess to support her all these years?

Since “Taklub” is not showing, we went to watch “Silong” instead. This one has more viewers even if it’s an indie film since it has a big box office star in the lead role, Piolo Pascual, but the material is so off beat and we’re sure Piolo will never be allowed to do it in a mainstream Star Cinema movie.

We’d like to commend the makers of “Silong” for coming up with a movie that is different from the romcoms we often see these days. “Silong” is actually the complete antithesis of the so-called feel good movie. This one is the perfect example of the feel bad movie. It’s touted to be a thriller, but honestly, not once were we thrilled while watching it.

The material is so dark and the characters are so warped that not one has a redeeming value. How anyone can make a movie about these evil psychotic characters is beyond us. If they’d pitch this directly to Star Cinema, we doubt very much if it would ever be given the green light. Shows with dark edgy characters are so common on Hollywood TV these days. Examples are “House of Cards”, “Mad Men”, “Breaking Bad”, “Bates Motel”. But they are so well written you tend to sympathize with the characters even if they’re doing something shady. Not so in the case of “Silong”.

Piolo is a lonely doctor grieving over the loss of his wife. One night, he rescues an injured woman, Rhian Ramos, who claims that her husband beat her up and wants to kill her. He takes her home and nurses her wounds. Soon, they are making passionate love. But in a supposed psychological thriller ek-ek like this, you know better as a viewer that both Piolo and Rhian are hiding something and the subsequent surprises and revelations are meant to shock and jolt you.

We wouldn’t want to give away too much of the plot as you might still have the gumption to endure watching it up to its unbelievable conclusion. And we don’t want to spoil it for you. Suffice it to say that the secrets you’ll discover in their respective closets are not at all palatable for normal people, but will certainly appeal to those with twisted minds. Also, the script is not that neatly crafted in that it raises a lot more questions than it could credibly answer.

The movie is not really new as it’s derivative of similar films about damsels in distress who turn out to be scheming vixens, just like Jennifer Aniston in “Derailed” and Rosamund Pike in “Gone Girl”. But of course, the mother of this kind of films with a twisted heroine is Hitchock’s “Vertigo”, with Kim Novak as the enigmatic female lead who’s trying to mess up James Stewart’s head.

The shocking part about Piolo and his ill-fated wife (Angel Jacob) is, in turn, reminiscent of Julian Sands in “Boxing Helena” who’s a doctor who mutilated the woman he loves so she cannot escape from him. Both Rhian and Piolo look beautiful on screen and they try their best to shine in their respective roles, but the very bizarre and negative dimension of the perverted characters they portray easily negate anything they can possibly offer as serious actors. And yes, there’s another character in the movie, played by Guji Lorenzana, but he serves absolutely no purpose.