by Richard Bolisay
▶︎ To claim that more than half the running time of Requited is spent on showing the characters biking towards their destination is not an exaggeration. Or at least that’s how tedious it feels, with the sound of chains sometimes painfully drilling into one’s ears. This forces the audience to be part of their journey and feel the strain of it, a device that on one hand provides its structure, making the trail from Manila to Zambales predictably focused, and on the other limits the direction of the narrative, hence the tiffs between the couple shift constantly from annoying to very annoying, and the scenes move from “what the fuck” (Anna Luna delightfully fellating a hotdog) to “what the flying fuck” (Jake Cuenca miserably masturbating by the rocks). There isn’t much room given to develop the characters and story and furnish them with nuance, and so when the climax comes, when Jake is supposed to carry out his goal in front of Mt. Pinatubo and Anna stops him, and that unbelievable, unexpected thing happens, it comes as a shock — and the crowd yelps in varying exclamations of surprise, and for around five minutes the CCP’s usually quiet theater is filled with whispers and moans. From here on Requited becomes something else, a tragedy of transformation, or just plain tragedy, and it’s hard to keep a straight face as Anna Luna’s ghost follows him and a flashback becomes another source of short but infinite jest. ***
Richard Bolisay is a film critic. This piece was first published on his site Lilok Pelikula as part of "Dispatches from Cinemalaya 2017 (Part 2)," August 13 2017.