Manila, 2034. Dark times. Literally and figuratively. Volcanic eruptions have obscured the sun. A crazed dictator rules while the military carry out summary executions. Drones watch over everyone in the continual downpour. Prize winning director Diaz’s work is tightly entwined with the tragedy of the Philippines. It isn't hard to view this SF film as contemporary commentary.
In black and white, with sober yet accurately captured scenes, the usual ample duration and some symbolism here and there, The Halt holds middle ground between political satire and the country’s psychological temperature gauge. The characters include two powerfully-placed female Special Forces officers who are in love. Their path crosses that of a former history teacher who is now a silently-suffering call girl. A former rock star has become a rebel. Guilt, national amnesia and the choice between violent or peaceful resistance colour the calmly structured plot, with an unexpected denouement.