Love Lockdown boasts of being the first Filipino film to be shot and released with most of the world still in quarantine. The full length feature is a trilogy of four directors collaborating: Manny Palo, Andoy Ranay, Darnel Villaflor, and Noel Escondo. It stars a set of relatively young actors, probably for the tireless back-and-forths and depth of technology aptitude needed to shoot it.
The think tanks from iWant certainly wasted no time and made sure to be creative and productive despite the strict lockdown to come up with this thriller that is, if I may say, a gem of wonder. That is, given the parameters they had to work around with.
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Starting off, lovers Jacob and Karen (real-life couple Jake Cuenca and Kylie Verzosa) are locked down in The Fort area. Their posh flat provides a good milieu for the first act as the revelations are peeled layer by layer. Both scantily clad all throughout, the couple provides us with a steamy, live-in affair amid COVID-19. Very sexy. +4
Upon reading more about the material, I’ve discovered that the actors themselves were behind the film’s cinematography, of course, with the remote supervision of their assigned directors. In addition to this, they also had to style themselves and their locations, so kudos to all the actors who did a fantastic job doubling as production designers. Given this parameter, Jake and Kylie’s part might just be the most excellently shot and staged of all three. +5
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Lesley (Angelica Panganiban) also comes out in Act 1 and then leads the succeeding act with Allan (JM de Guzman). They find themselves in a sort of romance of two people dealing with a breakup, an affair entangled with voyeurism and obsession that then maintains the film’s thriller tone. The twists in this act are just a bit too predictable from the get-go, but Angelica and JM’s performances are still as strong and as dependable as always. It would also be interesting to know that the directors themselves play bit roles, so that must have been fun to shoot. +3
Keeping with the theme of intertwined storylines, Allan bleeds into the third part—led by Sue Ramirez as internet troll Abby and Tony Labrusca as her love interest / cybersex partner Darren. The next story adds up to the lockdown theme, with Sue having to be my best actress in this project. Here, she thrives as if she’s been a loquacious internet troll her entire life. Add to that, the scene with her devouring a popsicle, which makes staying until the end of the film all worth it. +7
As I mentioned cybersex earlier, you already know what to expect of Sue and Tony as they both deliver and definitely do not disappoint. To spice things up in this episode, we have the prolific, Arjo Atayde who breathes life into another offbeat role which I would like to leave for you guys to discover on your own. This episode was a fitting fishing touch to the trilogy which opened strong and finished almost as strong. +5
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With a total of 24 mind-boggling points, as a filmmaker, I still cannot wrap my head around the process of making this film given the timeline. March 15 was the announced official start of the lockdown and Love Lockdown showed on May 15, exactly two months after. Just with that parameter alone of two full months, it is a marvel that iWant was able top come up with this finely crafted thriller. Of course, it ain’t perfect. But given the logistical challenges and limitations of the project, I would call this a perfect execution of what "lockdown cinema" could and should be.
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Photos courtesy of iWant