7.6/10
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Metro Manila (2013)

Not Rated | | Action, Crime, Drama | 20 September 2013 (UK)
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1:44 | Trailer
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... See full summary »

Director:

Sean Ellis

Writers:

Sean Ellis (screenplay), Frank E. Flowers (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 9 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jake Macapagal ... Oscar Ramirez
John Arcilla ... Douglas Ong
Althea Vega ... Mai Ramirez
Erin Panlilio Erin Panlilio ... Angel Ramirez
Iasha Aceio Iasha Aceio ... Baby Ramirez
Mailes Kanapi ... Charlie (as Angelina Kanapi)
JM Rodriguez JM Rodriguez ... Alfred Santos
Ana Abad Santos ... Dora Ong
Moises Magisa Moises Magisa ... Buddha (as Moises Mag Isa)
Reuben Uy ... JJ
Mario Visto Mario Visto ... Banaue Rice Traders
Daniel Magisa Daniel Magisa ... Conman #1 (as Danny Mag Isa)
Ray Aragon Ray Aragon ... Conman #2
Jervie Cajarop Jervie Cajarop ... Police Officer
Jhay Castillo Jhay Castillo ... Slum Housing Officer
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Storyline

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 Ramirez 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. The movie portrays how far a man can go for his family.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Desperate men take desperate measures.

Genres:

Action | Crime | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | Philippines

Language:

Tagalog

Release Date:

20 September 2013 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Metrópole Manila See more »

Filming Locations:

Philippines See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

GBP250,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$200,584
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Chocolate Frog Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Official submission of the United Kingdom to the Oscars 2014 best foreign language film category. See more »

Goofs

The license plate of Oscar and Ong's security truck keeps changing throughout the film. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Anthropoid Press Conference (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

O mio babbino caro
Performed by Maria Callas
Courtesy of EMI Records Limited
See more »

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User Reviews

 
This Manila is Not Paradise
10 October 2013 | by 3xHCCHSee all my reviews

"Metro Manila" is like two films in one. The first hour was about how Oscar Ramirez (Jake Macapagal), a poor farmer from Banaue, decides to bring his wife Mai (Althea Vega) and kids to Manila so he can find a better job so they can escape their poverty. It turns out that Manila is not really the paradise at all that it is cut out to be, as the Ramirez family continues to wallow in abject squalor. The major portion of this first half of the film are the sad images of the "real" Metro Manila with its polluted environment and overpopulation.

The second half of the film is the main crux of the story. Oscar gets a job as a courier of an armored car service, facing danger daily as they transport safety-deposit boxes containing a lot of money and other valuables. He is partnered with the more senior and jaded guard/driver named Douglas Ong (John Arcilla). Ong overly showers Martinez with kindness and generosity. But Oscar will soon find out later that Ong would have favors of questionable integrity to ask of him. As problems of criminal and ethical nature arise, what would Oscar do next?

Jake Macapagal really disappeared into his role as Oscar. It was like he was not acting in his scenes. We deeply feel his frustration and confusion as a father who desperately wants to provide for his family. Althea Vega tends to have a blank look on her face in some of her scenes, but she is much better here than her lead role in "Amor Y Muerte" earlier this year. John Arcilla was over-the-top in his characterization of Ong, and he really exuded that dangerous vibe about him. The tension was so thick when he is around. Ana Abad Santos made an impact even only with her two short scenes as Ong's wife, Dora.

The main plot is simple, about the corruption of the innocent in the wild jungle of the big city, and the film shows it well. I did like its setting of a security/armored car service, which I found to be novel and interesting. The set-up and revelation of the ending was wonderfully written and executed, very effective and poignant. I was expecting this to have English subtitles since I was interested to see how certain words and phrases would be translated, but there was none where I watched it.

As a resident of Metro Manila, I was very excited to see this film made by a foreigner about the city I live in. But upon watching, I admit I was not very happy at the sordid way Manila was depicted in an international film like this, now on its way to potential Oscar glory. It runs counter to all our efforts done to attract tourists to our country. However, I also know that the montage of unflattering scenes about the streets and slums of Manila is unfortunately true and accurate. It may be an incomplete picture of Metro Manila, yet it remains an undeniable reality. This is what British producer/director/writer/cinematographer Sean Ellis saw when he was in Manila, and we have to accept that.


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