In celebration of its 25th anniversary in the industry, ABS-CBN Films and Star Cinema brings us three of the country’s biggest movie stars in one classic romantic drama film “Kasal”.
Under the helm of master storyteller Ruel S. Bayani (who gave us the box-office hits “No Other Woman” and “One More Try”, with a screenplay by Patrick Valencia and starring Bea Alonzo, Paulo Avelino and Derek Ramsay in their first collaboration together, “Kasal” is probably one of ABS-CBN Films and Star Cinema’s most shocking, daring and unforgettable movies in a long time.
“Kasal” also features a powerhouse cast led by Christopher de Leon, Cherie Gil, Ricky Davao, Ces Quesada, Celeste Lagaspi, with Cris Villonco, Kylie Verzosa, Vin Abrenica, Bobby Andrews, Cai Cortez, and JC Alcantara.
“Kasal” follows Lia Marquez (Bea Alonzo), a simple lass who is set to marry Cebu’s most eligible bachelor Philip Cordero (Paulo Avelino), who is currently running to clinch the mayoral position after his father’s term ends.
However, things get complicated when Lia’s ex-boyfriend Wado dela Costa (Derek Ramsay) returns to work for them in a project that will help Philip win the elections. Inevitably, feelings resurface and doubts arise. As we get closer to the wedding day, Lia becomes unsure if she is choosing the right man to marry, torn between the man from her past and the man she’s building a future with.
Basically, it’s the typical romance drama conflict. Throw in some politics, a returning ex-girlfriend, some common family issues – for Philip, a dead brother, a nosy soon-to-be mother-in-law, a controlling father; Lia has a transgender father she can’t accept and Wado who longs for his son who lives abroad with his ex, and we get the story of “Kasal”.
But this is just the tip of the iceberg as the film slowly develops into a complex and multilayered drama that slowly unravels itself as the film progress. By the second half of the film, the story has turned into something that I’ve already predicted, yet still very shocking based on the reaction of the crowd inside the theater during the Premiere.
Anyone who has seen the trailer may have already guessed about it because it was heavily insinuated by the weird, suggestive tension between the characters of Paulo Avelino and Derek Ramsay in that bar scene. Philip has been hiding this secret his whole life. He truly loves Lia but he is scared that his secret will tear them apart.
Unfortunately, once Wado discovers this, he uses this as an opportunity to destroy Philip and Lia’s relationship. And this is where most of the fun begins as we watch him play around with Philip while threatening him to reveal his secret.
I don’t know how to explain it but this film somehow evokes the vibe of those 80’s and 90’s Pinoy romance dramas that are now considered classics. From it’s complicated storylines to its humorous one-liners, “Kasal” is already a cult classic in the making. It might come off a bit too much, since it seems like they tried to put everything that they could into the film’s storyline, from family issues, dirty politics to homosexuality.
With one wrong move, this could turn out as a disastrous mess. But with director Ruel Bayani’s deft handling of the story, everything turned out good. Another aspect that added that Wow factor in the film was it’s gorgeous locations and lush cinematography.
The film featured a lot of unseen sights from Cebu and I was actually stunned to see how beautiful the city is, thanks to the cinematography that maximized the locations to great effect. And how can you forget the enchanting voice of Moira dela Torre every time her single “Tagpuan” is played in the background, matching perfectly with the film’s sweeping drama?
I love the film’s powerful cast of actors, especially Christopher de Leon and Ricky Davao. But it was Ms. Cherie Gil’s presence that really added that oomph factor to the film with her eye-catching portrayal of Philip’s domineering mother.
“Kasal” marks Derek Ramsay’s big comeback to Star Cinema, and it is indeed the perfect project for him. I don’t know any actor that could pull off his shirt that fast and jump into a steamy kissing scene like Derek. Although I must say that Wado comes off a bit exaggerated with his overflowing confidence that Lia still loves him and his character’s decisions don’t have any logic at times, especially when he tries to blackmail Philip.
Paulo Avelino’s role is probably the hardest character to pull off in the film, but he manages to bring Philip to life with flying colors. He is the one that gave this film the intensity it needed with his emotional performance, and it reminded me a lot of his younger days from “Ang Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa”. As always, Bea Alonzo never failed us with her powerful performance as Lia in the film. She perfectly matches Paulo’s emotional level during their confrontation scene and seeing them together at that moment was one of the film’s most impactful moments.
Ruel S. Bayani’s “Kasal” is indeed the perfect film to celebrate the 25th anniversary in the industry of the country’s biggest film company. ABS-CBN Films and Star Cinema has never done something like this, making it a breath of fresh air for mainstream moviegoers. From its sweeping drama, powerful performances and atypical yet mature take on true love, “Kasal” is definitely a must-see.