Siargao: MMFF Movie Review

With top-notch cinematography and a solid soundtrack, "Siargao" as a getaway from the hustle and bustle of the metro onto the basking warm sunlight of the beach simply works. But the film heavily focuses on those elements too much that it forgets to actually provide a solid and dramatic screenplay.

Diego (Jericho Rosales) is the famous frontman of "The Diego Luna Project". Recently, he has had a huge feud with his bandmates forcing him to return to his hometown Siargao to get away from life's problems. Laura (Erich Gonzales) on the other hand wants to go on a trip alone. She recently broke up with her long-time boyfriend and she wants to find her true self. As fate would have it, the two are on the same flight to Siargao. The two start off on rocky footing but as they bump into each other several times in the small, idyllic beach town, they start to develop a deeper friendship that may just help them find out what they need to do to fix their personal issues.
"Siargao" is a beautiful film to experience. The film as a visual and aural experience was a completely successful one. The film features numerous shots of the island of Siargao from literally top to bottom and Paul Soriano was able to capture not only the natural beauty of the place but the unique island culture that is built around its Bohemian lifestyle. If you are looking for a film to help you forget that you are actually inside a cinema, "Siargao" should be one of your best bets. And that was also one of the film's major issues. "Siargao" unfortunately also feels like a tourism campaign for its namesake vacation spot. While the film was able to skirt around this "product placement" in most areas, it drastically affects the story's momentum in key areas that the film fails to provide any significant emotional anchor. Several times, we wished the film concentrated more on its characters' relationship towards each other than a lagoon, an island, or even a surfing scene. We get it, it's part of the island's allure but seeing it for the -nth time does not help make it more obvious. Surprisingly, the film did give a satisfying ending to its protagonists' dilemmas so at least the story has its high points. Acting-wise, the film's leads provide great chemistry. Jericho Rosales really stood out from the bunch but Erich Gonzales and Jasmine Curtis-Smith are not far-off. Overall, we loved how their performances just felt natural. "Siargao" outside its great cinematography and acting lacks depth. While it never really lived up to our expectations, the film is at least worth a literal look.
Rating: 3 and a half reels

Why you should watch it:
- wonderful shots of the island and idyllic life in Siargao
- the soundtrack is excellent and in tune with the film's theme

Why you shouldn't watch it:
- the story is lacking
- little or no emotional oomph

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