There’s no denying the sizzling sexiness of the cast: Janvier Daily, with his nextdoor casualness, whose chunky frame can barely contain his loose-fitting clothes, and Paolo Rivero, with his icy gravity, are brothers-in-law who become fugitives after the murder of the sister/wife who binds them. Playing third wheel is fresh-faced Andrew Miguel as a precocious youngster who mysteriously pops up wherever the two men go.
Director Monti Parungao, from a script he wrote based on the story by producer Danio Caw, proves himself (again) to be a confident sensualist, as if we already didn’t know that from his controversial debut film Sagwan or the hit videos he made for Viva Digital, such as Provoq and Hubad. The most evocative scenes in Bayaw depict straight men doing gay things yet still retain their masculinity, such as early on when Daily receives a blowjob from a parlorista for gambling money, and especially in a highlight forced sex between the brothers-in-law after getting turned on by straight porn inside a motel. There’s a prison brawl with butt-baring naked men and a shower duet which gives us a glimpse of Daily’s impressive frontal. Ostensibly, Bayaw maps the slippery nature of male sexuality, and Parungao, who’s also the cinematographer, matches it with dreamy camerawork and a lot of editing bells and whistles.
But alas, he’s still a faulty dramatist. The stylistic embellishments could barely mask the lack of logic or coherence. The characters don’t have internal lives, so they’re never really given a chance to be human. They clunk along as caricatures of themselves. As such, Bayaw is a crime mystery that couldn’t get me enough to care, and damn near stressful to watch.