Nonoy L. Lauzon
What began as a waltz between a man and a woman slowly drawn to each other dissolves to a dark tango between battling sexes engaged in some bizarre and twisted game.
One would not guess the twist to what could have been a fairy-tale romance of the adult offbeat variety prefigured in the independent feature Silong. Starring Piolo Pascual as something of a knight in shining armor, and Rhian Ramos as a damsel in distress. Along the level of the metaphorical, the film was the culminating presentation of last year’s Cinemalaya Film Festival and had its regular theatrical release with no less than Star Cinema as distributor while Heneral Luna marched its way to box-office dominance in September of the immediate past year. Local audiences have the occasion to catch it anew with its current screening run courtesy of the University of the Philippines Diliman.
For a directorial debut effort (from the tandem of writer Roy Sevilla Ho and cast member Jeffrey Hidalgo), the film is quite impressive with its visual flair, knack for arousing intrigue, curiosity and suspense, and fair success in eliciting outstanding performances from its leads. Just when one is convinced that the film is what it exactly professes: an affectionate drama of two broken souls finding refuge in falling for each other, it turns things around to unravel an unforgettable yarn that totally subverts one’s expectations.
For most part of the film, viewers would find themselves rooting for the protagonists. Both respectively struggle to recover from a love that had gone wasted amidst contrasting circumstances. It is not hard for the audience to sympathize with both characters. They deserve to be cheered and prodded to take a second chance at love. They look good together. All they need is to surmount the troubles, the wounds and the heartaches of previous failed affairs so that they can then look forward to live happily ever after in each other’s arms. This should have been all there is to the film except that the filmmakers have other things in mind.
It turns out that it is a different ever-after awaiting the amorous couple of the story. At some point, the film lets loose its own sense for the eerie and the spine-tingling.
Needless to say, one has to watch the film to know the real score and actual tale. The beauty of it is that it is still to be seen as a film entirely about love, albeit, of the deconstructed sort that could only arise from the alienation brought forth in the modern world, the culture of impunity that defines the times and the workings of a sick society overrun by miserable people repulsing one another. It is a thriller in more ways than one as it posits and insinuates in all dexterity that the thrill we derive from feeling in love may be the similar burst of energy and mixed emotions we experience in a harrowing moment when we all of a sudden discover ourselves fearing and running for our lives.
(This review was originally posted here.)