In Kalye Marino, only an idiot dies of drowning. That is, at least, the belief of the locals.
But when Intoy’s father (Richard Quan) drowns himself drunk in the first ten minutes of the film, it sets the kind of standard the film raises for itself. Suffice it to say, it’s a standard that isn’t very high.
Intoy Syokoy carries a title as misleading as the rest of its story. Intoy (JM De Guzman) is arguably the most prominent figure of the film, but the film’s story revolves around the rest of his barkada in Kalye Marino. His friends, which include Berto (Joross Gamboa ), Doray (LJ Reyes), Boyet (Arnold Reyes) and Yeye (Kenneth Salva), have all grown up friends doomed to live their lives in the small fishing town built on the rickety mussel farms underneath the water.
The story begins when Intoy’s father passes away; but even that point is debatable. Like the murky waters of Kalye Marino, whatever story lies in the depths of Intoy Syokoy is one that’s hard to see. And though one can argue that each of Intoy’s friends have their own particular story arcs, the film lacks a clear sense of focus.
The friends move forward on their own particular subplots but fail to culminate into anything emotionally meaningful.
Intoy Syokoy makes deliberate attempts to add conflict and dimension to its story, but the results only seem convoluted and clichéd. Doray enters into prostitution, Boyet is thrown into prison, Yeye falls into drugs and Berto is kicked out of his own home. It’s a typical tale of lost innocence, but one that anchors itself on emotional expoitation rather than earned drama.
Despite its strong cast, the film fails to achieve any other emotion other than that of utter pity. Back stories are outlined in overindulgent detail, and dramatic moments are clearly over the top.
The story simply begs its audience to take itself seriously by throwing obstacle after exhausted obstacle at its characters – but even then, director Lem Lorca refuses to hurt them in any meaningful way.
Surely, a case can be made for Doray’s eventual fate, but the film’s ending easily quashes all that when Intoy rides back into her life with a promise that easily equates to “true love can heal all things”.
For a film that prides itself on the lack of “romantic sentiments”, Intoy Syokoy’s ending is anything but.
Despite these heavy-handed criticisms, it’s easy to see the sparks of an inspired concept buried underneath the film’s grime. The backdrop of mussel farming and the struggles of the film’s local fishermen provide a rich goldmine of story. And the romantic tale between Intoy and Doray could’ve easily been the very heart of a film that struggles to have one.
Unfortunately, despite his best efforts, director Lem Lorca fails to realize the potential of his own material. What is left, instead, is a shell of a film as empty as the mussels cast away from the white tide of Kalye Marino.
Only an idiot dies of drowning in Kalye Marino. Ironically, that’s exactly what happens in Intoy Syokoy.
PARA SA TAMAD MAGBASA:
Despite its capable cast, the film fails to pull together a coherent and engaging story, wasting the potential of its setting and its concept.