25 January 2013 4:56 AM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Sean Ellis keeps things unpredictable with a poetic and searingly realistic migrant drama that gradually becomes a crime story

An interesting phenomenon in recent years has been the number of British film-makers who have taken their productions aboard, whether for reasons of frustration or simply to get better value for money from another country's specialisms.

So far, this has given us Gareth Edwards' Monsters, a romantic creature feature filmed in Central America, and Gareth Evans' The Raid, an accomplished martial arts thriller that took full advantage of the genre industry in Jakarta.

Now we have Sean Ellis with Metro Manila, a thoughtful drama/heist movie set in the Philippines that not only captures a beautiful fly-on-the-wall view of the capital's desperate underside, but also delivers some superb twists and turns as the central crime story starts to reveal itself.

Jake Macapagal stars as Oscar Ramirez, a low-paid farmer »

- Damon Wise

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