“Bula” seamlessly merges intense themes of passion, dark comedy, and a protagonist’s surreal romantic inclinations. Meldie, portrayed by Ayanna Misola, is an employee at a laundromat with an eccentric habit of donning clothes entrusted to her for cleaning. Adding to her quirks, she drapes these clothes on her physically challenged husband (Mon Confiado), who appears to have experienced a significant stroke.
Throughout the film, Meldie engages in multiple murders, displaying a disturbing pleasure in her actions. While initially, it seems she’s infatuated with Jacob (Gab Lagman), a police officer dating a model, Celine (Rob Guinto), her motives soon reveal a deeper narrative.
Jacob and Celine frequent Meldie’s laundromat, and Meldie often personally delivers their laundry. Her borderline obsession leads her to voyeuristically watch the couple’s intimate moments, indicating her envy of Celine.
Distinct from typical Vivamax titles, “Bula” is a dark, comedic commentary. Meldie’s psyche reflects a dissociative fugue state, an urge to adopt a new identity. The film balances on the line between humor and discomfort, inducing mixed reactions from the audience.
The narrative occasionally feels disjointed, and certain plot points could benefit from more concise resolutions. For instance, the conclusion feels like a reiteration of prior events, albeit with a fresh victim.
Misola’s portrayal of Meldie is both naïve and wicked, masterfully capturing the film’s essence where delusion meets reality. Meldie’s desires and pursuits, regardless of their violent nature, are her reality, no matter how distorted they may appear to others.
The film, though uniquely captivating, isn’t for everyone. Its provocative and peculiar nature could either be intriguing or off-putting to viewers. The consistent offbeat tone is further accentuated by the movie’s soundtrack. Director Bobby Bonifacio has even personally penned many of the film’s catchy Tagalog tracks, reminiscent of popular jukebox hits.
Supporting Ayanna’s stellar performance, Rob Guinto delivers a competent role, eventually becoming the target of Meldie’s resentment due to his infidelity. Gab Lagman, on the other hand, is a refreshing presence among Vivamax’s male leads. His physical attributes stand out compared to contemporaries like Sean de Guzman and Vince Rillon. However, when it comes to his acting prowess, there’s room for refinement.