‘Halik sa Hangin’ Review: Unhinged and unromantic
Never mistake Emmanuel Palo’s Halik sa Hangin as something of an innovation for Star Cinema. It has all been done before, and with astronomically better results.
Cholo Laurel’s criminally underseen Nasaan Ka Man (2005), also set in Baguio, featured a romance veiled with supernatural undertones. Nasaan Ka Man, however, was consistent in tone and intention. It never let go of the romance even amidst the twists and turns that tok the narrative down the route of thrills and tension.
Halik sa Hangin, by comparison, is an intricate mess. It plods deliberately like a leaden love story, before rushing into a finale that feels jarringly out of place. It is just as confused as it is confusing.
The film centers on Mia (Julia Montes), an angst-filled lady who recently relocated to Baguio to live with her mother (Ina Raymundo) and stepdad (Edu Manzano).
She is suddenly wooed into an affair by Gio (Gerald Anderson), a lad who mysteriously appears right after she salvages an old guitar from an abandoned house. Left waiting in the sidelines is Alvin (JC de Vera), the stereotypical boy-next-door who’d do anything for the girl he loves.
Halik sa Hangin grounds its romance on a lot of talk and blabber. The film is drowning in dialogue, which covers almost all of the bases of the film’s blossoming romance. This reliance on spoken expositions to propel the love story leaves very little to the imagination, rendering the romance tepid and unbelievable.
Sure, cinematographer Moises Zee exerts a lot of effort in making sure that the endless conversations are always backdropped with beautiful fog-draped vistas.
However, this attention to the look only brings to the foreground how empty the love story really is. It is all pretty pictures and spectacles to mask what essentially is a fancy-looking fluke.
The deficit in imagination shows in the lazy way the film’s characters are portrayed.
Gio, who is always seen brooding underneath his dark-hued hoodie, resembles an unhinged James Dean-wannabe, with all the faux swagger but without the profound aches. Mia, on the other hand, is predictably in tune with her artistic side, all the better to cut paths to express the character’s inner turmoil.
This brazen way the characters are developed outside of common stereotypes adds to the predictability of the entire affair. Plot points and twists are prematurely telegraphed, not only because the narrative is all too common already, but also because the characters are visually designed and portrayed by their respective actors and actresses to logically fall a certain anticipated path.
The film leaves absolutely no room for daring surprises. With its agonizingly sluggish pacing, the experience of watching Halik sa Hangin tends to be more taxing than it’s worth.
Halik sa Hangin has a lot of interesting ideas, though. Mia, with her subtle disdain for her mother and adoration for her guitar-strumming father (Jett Pangan), hints of what could have been a film with deeper psychological explorations.
Sadly, everything has been watered down for convenience. Everything is wasted on the dull romance and ineffective horror. Halik sa Hangin actually gets to that point when it seems to turn for the better, until all the fertile ideas are completely abandoned to revert back to its juvenile pocketbook roots.
The film is a collection of erroneous twists and missed opportunities. While it does not lack ambition, it sorely misses integrity. It is unable to decide what it really wants to be, turning it into a hodgepodge of immature notions about love, bland scares, and a sorry set of ludicrous characters. – 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. Profile photo by Fatcat Studios
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