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by Heinrich Domingo

Silong deviates from the predictable narrative of Pinoy thriller films. The supposedly one dimensional story of a murderer at large was made complicated by the inclusion of issues on marital woes, domestic violence, and women rights. The movie is a breath of fresh air from the typical cheesy romantic films of our generation. It teaches the viewers the extremities of love. 
A physician (played by Piolo Pascual) in a barrio stumbles upon a beautiful bloodied young woman (Rhian Ramos) in the middle of the night. He rescues her and brings her home only to develop a romantic relationship. As the two deepen their ties, they discover each other’s deepest secrets. The plot then thickens awakening dark pasts and unresolved histories. 

Pairing Piolo and Rhian provides a promising start. Casting two good-looking actors gives the audience a sense of familiarity well-needed for a surprise-filled film. The characters assure us of predictability owing to their typecast roles in mainstream films. But little did we know that this could be a factor in establishing the surprise twist at the end.

Far from the beautiful faces flashed on the screen are pressing issues which are seldom discussed in the male-dominated film industry. Movies are vehicles of bringing national issues to the fore. Although the film could have stood a firmer stance on women’s rights, it was content in merely presenting a scenario of household violence. In this age when texts in media are vague and open to interpretation, the public is in need of more straightforward messages.

Silong can be easily disguised as a mystery-romance film starring two mainstream media personalities. Yet, as the story develops, the director proves that typical topics in indie films can be packaged in a more innovative and enticing way. The grim depiction of poverty, hunger, and women abuse can be alternate in a way that the popular audience can still relate to.

The film is not revolutionary nor radical. Several elements could have been improved. Yet with its intention to bring new presentation in a seemingly romance-centric films of today, Silong was still able to pique the interest of mainstream and indie film audiences alike.

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