Tagalog with English subtitles, 2012, 110 minutes, color, United Kingdom/Philippines, World Dramatic
Seeking a brighter future in megacity Manila, Oscar Ramirez and his family flee their impoverished life in the rice fields of the northern Philippines. But the sweltering capital’s bustling intensity quickly overwhelms them, and they fall prey to the rampant manipulations of its hardened locals. Oscar catches a lucky break when he’s offered steady work for an armored truck company and gregarious senior officer Ong takes him under his wing. Soon, though, the reality of his work’s mortality rate and the murky motives of his new partner force Oscar to confront the perils he faces in his new job and life.
Director Sean Ellis’s return (The Broken premiered at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival) vividly captures the desperation of life amongst the squalid Manila slums, then ratchets up the tension, creating an intense thriller with a poignant humanity and palpable dramatic stakes. In the role of Oscar, Jake Macapagal brings emotional depth to the wrenching choices he must make to sustain his family. - H. Z.
About the Director
Academy Award– and BAFTA-nominated director Sean Ellis started taking pictures when he was 11 years old. At the age of 26, he became a sought-after fashion photographer before crossing over into film. After writing and directing three successful short films, Ellis expanded his Academy Award–winning short, Cashback, into the feature film of the same name. His psychological thriller The Broken premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2008. Metro Manila is Ellis’s third feature and a world premiere.
Cast and Credits
Director: Sean Ellis
Screenwriters: Sean Ellis, Frank E. Flowers
Executive Producers: Sean Ellis, Enrique Gonzalez, Celine Lopez
Producers: Mathilde Charpentier, Sean Ellis
Cinematographer: Sean Ellis
Editor: Richard Mettler
Production Designer: Ian Traifalgar
Composer: Robin Foster
Principal Cast: Jake Macapagal, John Arcilla, Althea Vega
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