Filipino crime thriller inspired by a real-life scandal in which prison inmates are temporarily released from prison to work as contract killers on behalf of politicians and high ranking military officials.
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A gritty crime-thriller about four men struggling to survive and a make living for themselves and their respective loved ones. Two are former prison inmates, hired as contract killers, and the two other are law enforcers and investigators, caught in the loop of corrupt government officials. Mario intends to go straight when he gets parole, and Daniel a younger inmate and Mario's apprentice, is set to replace him as hired killer. Joaquin and Francis are the police officers tangled in a moral conflict. The two groups inevitably collide. Written by
On The Job has some intriguing stuff, it's a story about four lives connected in one conspiracy behind the law. What's going on is as many as its moral ambiguities. It is a heavy story, but it consistently delivers thanks to the people who are involved. The craft is excellent for giving an absorbing quality with pure tension. The stellar cast brings plenty of life within the characters. Beyond the surfaces, the film is already fascinating itself, but it's a very ambitious picture. OTJ is a rare modern Filipino film that has an actual engaging story to tell in a brilliantly slick and exhilarating way.
The subjects of the film are the realities of crime and moral ambiguity. Even though the lead character's motivation is good, it won't make his job look any less terrible. It never glosses anything about what they do and that's the interesting part. There are no actual heroes and a dirty work will always be a dirty work, which provides absolute danger within the surface. The film is best at tension, every set piece is like a ticking bomb, it gets louder and louder until it fires to an unpredictable shock, then more action. It's amazing stuff. When there's no blood and gunshots, the film explores the characters. They are in fact not bad people after all. They have their own problems and only do those things to provide for their loved ones, though there's a fear that they might bring their work into their personal lives, but that just makes it human.
Tatang is mostly ruthless, but Joel Torre gives all the humanity which balances the character's depth and criminal side. Gerald Anderson shines remarkably. His greatest feat is the arrogance he brings, makes his character feel more threatening. Piolo Pascual surprisingly has something beyond his typical charms. My favorite among is Joey Marquez, who gives the cop a natural rage and fear that can be relatable and somehow enjoyable to watch.
The film never depicts Metro Manila as pleasant, it's like hell on earth where violence may happen anytime in the city. Well it is in fact one of the rotten places of the country. Other than that, the film has most the best things in a classic crime thriller: noir feel, anxiety filled action, twisted dark humor, and a cinematography that glamors around the filth. Director Erik Matti keeps everything interesting and magnetic.
OTJ is a great surprise among the local blockbusters today. We don't usually get a well made Filipino movie like this nowadays unless it's an independent film. Otherwise, it's a compellingly grim crime drama that may possibly stuck in your mind in a while. Personally, I think this is the best film I've seen this year so far. Since it's not really the greatest ever, I think this is what we need. It has a lot of what's missing in most modern blockbusters. It also has the craftsmanship and down-to-earth performances that would impact more to the audience. With all the merits, OTJ is easily recommendable.
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