It’s the detours that lead to the untrodden path. When Brian and Janine (Derick Monasterio and Lexi Fernandez) invite Ella (Barbie Forteza) for a night time driving lesson, they didn’t foresee a night of unspoken horror that would have them driving through a road inhabited by restless souls seeking reparation. This eventually leads to the reinvestigation of a 12 year old cold case involving the disappearance of sisters Lara (Rhian Ramos) and Joy (Louise de los Reyes). Luis Medina (TJ Trinidad), a bemedalled investigator, handles the case.
A decade earlier, Lara and Joy drove through this desolate road, sweeping through clouds of dust when their car engine suddenly stalled. When they asked help from a sulky passerby (Alden Richards), they were lead to his dwelling where the sisters soon found themselves captive. Placed in separate rooms, Lara could hear Joy’s pleas, but was helpless. “Patawarin mo ako, Joy, at di kita naipagtanggol,” whispered Lara through the walls. Later that night, Lara found a bunch of keys, one unlocking the chain on her leg. She made a run to freedom, but the man discovered her disappearance.
Cohesively told as three seemingly unrelated tales with pinhole-focus , each with meticulously appointed atmosphere that succinctly captures an eventful moment in different decades, director Yam Laranas masterfully and cleverly spins a yarn of utter suspense bristling with pulsating narrative progression and psychological disquiet. It’s the year’s most unexpected triumph too. With a tightly written script and an impeccable casting, the film soars and entertains. It is also one of my favorites for 2012.
“The Road” highlights the star turn of Alden Richards and Renz Valerio - playing the teenage and child Luis respectively – who both deliberately took advantage of the script’s slow but steady build up, mining an emotional grit that inspires discernment. Carmina Villaroel browbeats with sinister abandon. You hardly hear her voice rise, but the menace is all there. Her character feels trapped in a loveless marriage and she makes her discontent known. With well threshed out characters and beautifully woven “chapters”, GMA Films has a winner; something that I never expected within the year. After all, when has the production outfit last delivered a great movie? Eleven years ago? Marilou Diaz-Abaya’s “Jose Rizal” was 1998. Joel Lamangan’s “Deathrow” was 2000. Have they done anything of considerable artistic merit aside from the aforementioned? Derick Monasterio was just 6 years old when GMA had one. It sure has been a long artistic drought… until now.
The mother and the laundrywoman.
Brian drives for their lives.
Alden Richards shines brightly as a traumatized, albeit psychologically unhinged teenager - and proves that there's more to his handsome face. In several scenes, he has expressions that reminded me of (a fairer version of) Coco Martin and of John Lloyd Cruz. No Coco? See the photo above.