The Cinemalaya 2017 entry Requited film tells the story of an ailing biker who takes to the trail for one last adventure which pits him against nature and the woman he desires.
The first 10 minutes of Requited shows Jake Cuenca’s character Matt biking from Manila via EDSA and out toward the countryside.
This led me to think: In what universe is this where there are very few cars on the road in Metro Manila?!
But seriously, there is a rhythm to the motion and the visuals that has a tendency to lull moviegoers and makes us feel more empathy to intermittent ringing. Out in the open spaces, we expect to leave the stress of city life. And the mobile phone is a reminder of all that you leave behind.
No wonder Matt finally decides to just break and throw away the infernal device.
The road movie with a minimal cast takes us through the roads of northern Luzon to reach the crater of Mount Pinatubo. The trip is not without its bumps and skids. In fact, many of them are literal, with Matt seriously injured by the film’s climax. But is there anything more to this movie than just a long-winding excuse to take us to some beautiful countryside and a monument?
Jeyow Evangelista’s cinematography makes the wide open spaces outside of the busy, bustling concrete jungle more vivid and alive. The clouds are thick and fluffy, the hills green and undulating, and Mount Pinatubo--at its post-eruption state--is majestic and almost magical.
You have to hand it to the stamina of Jake and co-star Anna Luna (Sandy), for pedaling along highways and up and down rolling terrain while having some semblance of conversation.
Unfortunately, most of it does not make much sense. There are bursts of emotions that come out, then shift in the next breath.
Sometimes, they get into arguments for reasons unknown to us. Then, they reassure each other over things that remain a secret from the viewer.
We think that maybe it’s the arduous physical activity that contributes to this jarring dialogue, but even in moments when they are still and indoors, very few things make sense.
Matt has a debilitating (unnamed) disease that seems to be escalating and he has embarked on this road trip as a final endeavor, presumably, while he is still strong.
Sandy is a volleyball player, a close friend who is also aware that he is in love with her, even though she is in a committed relationship with Chris.
Though Matt and Sandy look good side by side on screen, they lack real chemistry that will have us rooting for them to end up together or at least kiss.
Apart from screaming “Matt!” and running after him, then caring for him when he gets into scrapes, Sandy gives us no real reason to wish that they will end up together. There is no reason to be invested in the story either.
Jake is most convincing when he tries to bottle his burgeoning attraction to Anna Luna, until he finally finds an outlet of release.
The climax and ending of Requited, surprising for sure, leaves much to be desired. There is something about the writing and directing by Nerissa Picadizo that leaves us wanting more.
At the most, it makes us want to take the trip to Mt. Pinatubo--but perhaps not on bicycles.
Requited is one of the entries of Cinemalaya 2017, which is ongoing until August 13. It is being screened at the Cultural Center of the Philippines and Ayala Malls cinemas namely Greenbelt 1, Glorietta 4, UP Town Center, TriNoma, Fairview Terraces, and Marquee Mall in Pampanga.
Ed's Note: The "PEP Review" section carries the views of individual reviewers, and does not necessarily reflect the views of the PEP editorial staff.