'Siargao' review: Low-key loving

Paul Soriano’s Siargao is a film that is content making ripples instead of waves.

Paean to a place

Diego (Jericho Rosales) is a beleaguered rock star. Laura (Erich Gonzales) is a heartbroken vlogger. The two individuals serendipitously meet on a plane ride to the island and over a series of barbs, drinks and flirtations, they form a delicate friendship, eventually allowing both of them to share their respective romantic missteps.

Siargao is persistently low-key, preferring to dissect each of its characters’ discreet heartaches through whispers rather than wails. (READ: 5 fun facts about the movie 'Siargao')

NURSING A BROKEN HEART. Laura (Erich Gonzales) travels to Siargao to find herself.

With the titular island destination as backdrop to its intertwining delicately portrayed dramas, the film feels more like a paean to the place. It is more a heartfelt postcard in the form of a film about losing and regaining emotional connections. Soriano avoids conflicts and confrontations, maintaining throughout his film a somber mood that is backdropped by a place where immaculate nature and a subculture of drifters harmoniously commune.

Tempered ambitions

It should work in concept.

Sadly, Siargao rarely lives up to its endeavor to carve subtle lyricism out of mundane romances and their paralyzing aftershocks. The film indulges in long stretches of its characters singing, relaxing, and surfing perhaps to enunciate the supposedly laidback lifestyle of the island and its islanders that the film desperately attempts to romanticize. Unfortunately, the film’s frequent frolics only highlight the thinness of its plot, or the banality of its characters and their motivations, or the triteness of its supposedly very current message.

Nevertheless, the film unabashedly embraces its smallness, and there is some nobility in its tempered ambitions.

FINDING YOURSELF.

Diego and Laura try to come to terms with their struggles in Siargao

Siargao resists melodrama. It resists grand gestures, preferring the intimacy of staggered conversations over beer and music. There is a allure to the film’s barefaced intimacy but it is one that doesn’t really contribute any profoundness to the film’s exercise in turning the process of escaping, moving on and growing up somewhat poetic and elegant.

Temporary fix

LOVE.

Diego confronts his past, including his ex-love played by Jasmine Curtis-Smith

Simply put, the film, much like the island it advertises, offers but a temporary fix.

It offers no real permanent pleasures. Its wisdom is as flighty as the lovers it portrays. It proudly offers just harmless and guiltless delights, ensuring that while it has resigned to a fate of being eventually forgotten amidst a barrage of many other films that share its affinity for forlorn love, it nevertheless has charmed even if it is just for a short period of time. – 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.