'Mulat' Review: Clutter and babble
It doesn’t help Diane Ventura’s Mulat that it is preceded by TheRapist, her 2011 short film that is ultimately a coverage of a conversation between a man (Marco Morales) and his therapist (Cherie Gil). The short offers a flavor of what is to come, which is essentially a whole lot of initially intriguing but eventually cumbersome jibber-jabber. It ends with a twist that woefully fails to amount to anything worthwhile.
While TheRapist limits the chitchat within a comfortable period, Mulat has a whole lot of room to fill up with characters engaging in all manner of talk. Sure, both films have their seemingly endless prattle ripen into plot twists and revelations. However, those narrative gimmicks do not really graduate the material. The films remain as bland as all their indulgent babble
The premise of Mulat is also more conventional, making its lengthy dialogues about commitment and relationships more familiar but also more tedious than TheRapist’s more provocative commentary on rape.
Mulat chronicles the experiences of Sam (Loren Burgos), a girl who was once engaged to be married to ill-tempered Vincent (Ryan Eigenmann) but has abruptly called off the engagement after waking up from a dream of dying in a vehicular accident. The movie then goes back and forth between two timelines, showing scenes from Sam and Vincent’s rocky relationship and what seems to be scenes from after the failed engagement, when Sam finally meets Jake (Jake Cuenca), who insists on helping Sam to move on.
For a film that spends so much time with characters speaking their minds on love and commitment, Mulat doesn’t really do much to make any of its characters more interesting than their mundane concerns.
The film lacks a concrete milieu, with its characters seemingly existing in a listless world bereft of any real soul, culture or character. The characters interact only with each other, rarely noticing anything other than themselves or the people they are conversing with. The film is so stubbornly fixated on its characters and their inexplicable infatuation with their past and present relationships that it fails to make the entire thing feel like anything but pointless clutter.
It really is quite a suffocating experience, which could be the entire point of the process, exploring the rhythms of relationships. It does so through creatively edited but monotonously shot footage of pretty people talking too much. Sadly, there really isn’t anything more to Mulat.
Simply put, most of the film is just a staggered set-up to what essentially is an underwhelming surprise finish. It almost feels like the film has been constructed in such a cryptic manner just to evoke a mood that suits its supernatural revelation.
Talk is cheap, and the film has too much of it. The gimmickry that the film tries to pull off in the end to make all its torturous verbal dissection of relationships just a tad rewarding is even cheaper. – Rappler.com
Francis Joseph Cruz litigates for a living and writes about cinema for fun. The first Filipino movie he saw in the theaters was Carlo J. Caparas' 'Tirad Pass.' Since then, he's been on a mission to find better memories with Philippine cinema.