Among the unusually numerous locally-produced gay-themed indie/digital films coming out this year, it is Sikil, with international title Unspoken Passion, that was first to have its regular screening starting last January 16 at the Robinson's Galleria. I was able to catch Sikil amidst fairly glowing reviews coming from The Bakla Review, and fabcasters Tony and McVie. Sad to say, I wasn't as impressed by the movie as them.
Unlike Tony who totally related to Enzo, the gay main protagonist played by Ginoong Pilipinas 2006 cutie Ken Escudero, I wasn't able to relate to any of the characters. (Of course, I ain't straight so I also wouldn't be able to relate to sexy hunk Wil Sandejas' character, Adong, hehe.) This isn't to say that I have to be able to emphatize with the characters to like the movie but that coupled with the other elements that were quite blah for me, did not a great film make. The film is not crap, that I will tell you, but nothing in particular stood out for me so it was definitely a not very memorable film.
Easily the best thing in the movie is the light plot with a fairly happy ending that is atypical of most local gay indie films. In it we have Enzo, the gay guy, falling for his childhood bestfriend, Adong who is smitten with their common friend Melay. Enzo so loves his guy that he helped Adong elope with Melay to Manila and after many years, took in both Adong and his daughter after Melay abandons them. What ensued after are scenes of mushy domestic scenes of Enzo and Adong taking care of Adong's love child. It's not quite your typical unrequited love story. Enzo's family sub-plot is a pretty nice addition but were times it became too awkward and dangerously skittered close to the tasteless shouting prevalent in Filipino drama.
The acting was passable enough though the first-time actors could definitely use some improvement. On the other hand, the editing seriously needs an overhaul. There were several scenes that had a why-the-fuck-did-they-put-that-in-there character, like the moviehouse scene where the gay pimp gets stabbed to death in the bathroom and dumped down onto the gay audience, who promptly screamed "punyeta!" Also, the attempt to invoke helplessness in a sado-masochist scene by cheap camera blurring effects is quite distracting. The movie clocked in at a full 1 hour and 50 minutes and it simply didn't need to be that long.
As for the eroticism? Well, there's plenty, including a full frontal of Richard Guebar that had absolutely nothing to do with the story. On the other hand, the lead actors, Wil Sandejas and Ken Escudero, provide plenty of eye candy.
Sikil is a good film to see once. But before it can become a fine cinematic jewel, the numerous rough edges definitely need some smoothing and the various elements, a lot of polishing.