MANILA, Philippines - Another sure winner — on the heels of the latest Manny Pacquiao win over Brandon Rios — is a slick and well-made film titled When the Love Is Gone directed by a relatively unknown director named Andoy Ranay.
On its first 30 minutes, the film looks magical on the eyes with its glossy look. But it is the smooth, fast and easy pace that makes the film an engrossing, if, winning experience.
A tribute to Danny Zialcita’s 1983 film called Nagalit Ang Buwan Sa Haba Ng Gabi, the film has superior technical and artistic package thanks to the film scoring of Terresa Barrozo and an inordinately competent cast who delivered Keiko Aquino’s sparkling dialogues with wit and dispatch and with a slight hint of sarcasm.
With the fine cinematography of Pao Orendain and the superior sound production of Michael Idioma, the film can pass for a Hollywood attraction. It served the film well as it is about love and passion among the middle class.
Hence, there is no sign of the lower class in this film.
The well-built husband is into triathlon, the protagonists meet in an art exhibit, and the discovery of illicit marital affairs is handled with middle-class discretion.
But in subsequent scenes, the other woman goes too far and aggrieved daughter — played with élan by Andi Eigenmann — gets her comeuppance with an entire pie landing on Reyes’ face.
In the beginning, there is nothing wrong with this comfortable family as they go about their routine with middle-class efficiency. Until the wife (Alice Dixson) thought of starting a home business dealing with cakes and pastries. Husband (Gabby Concepcion) is very encouraging and so is the lovely daughter (Eigenmann).
But in trying to get a quick return of investment, poor wife neglects the husband who turns to a younger woman (Cristine Reyes) for comfort and relief. The other woman happens to be very much married to a gay husband (Jake Cuenca) being groomed for politics by a political dynasty headed by Jaime Fabregas.
When love begins to be shared three-ways, the film heads on to its dénouement with formidable dispatch with its tale of love, lust and obsession.
Love sours when other woman notices unusual about her husband’s bed preferences. She becomes restless and turns to the equally restless husband who needs the same sexual gratification.
The love scenes shot in assorted settings sizzle with highly realistic performances by Reyes and Concepcion. Cuenca turns in an equally commendable portrayal as the gay husband who wants his cake and eat it, too.
Balancing the tales of lust and obsession is the almost idyllic love affair between Eigenmann and Anton Revilla. But theirs is a love not meant to be toward the end of the film.
Concepcion as the middle-class patriarch has many things going for him. He has the looks of someone any younger woman would fall for, he has the body of a well-disciplined sportsman but he also has a soft spot of a family man when it comes to anything that concerns wife and daughter.
Dixson has matured a lot and like it or not, the role must have reflected her real life. For this reason, it is refreshing to see her act not just with her beauty queen stature but with a newfound maturity.
Even as they are briefly seen in the film, Pilar Pilapil and Dina Bonnevie deliver suave and deeply marked performances.
As it is, When the Love Is Gone is another polished variation of a beautiful love story sensually told with wit and finesse.
The late Danny Zialcita would have been proud.
This is my first film by Ranay and the result is astounding. This director will go far.
When The Love Is Gone opens today in cinemas.