7.6/10
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Metro Manila (2013)

Not Rated | | Crime , Drama | 20 September 2013 (UK)
Trailer
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:

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:

£250,000 (estimated)
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

Metro Manila returned to 12 UK cinemas on 28th November 2013 for a one off screening to raise money for the victims of typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda that had hit the Philippines and killed close to 6000 people. 12 screens were donated by VUE cinemas and raised a total of £3540 for the DEC charity. Its British director, Sean Ellis said: "The people of the Philippines were tremendously supportive during the making of Metro Manila, and it's only right that we should now use the film to raise money to help the victims of this terrible disaster." See more »

Goofs

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

Connections

Remade as Untitled Metro Manila Remake See more »

Soundtracks

The Locket
Written by Robin Foster
Piano performed by Guy Farley
Recorded by Ronan Phelan
Assitant Engineer Greg Marriott
Recorded at Sphere Studios London
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Sundance 2013 World Dramatic Audience Winner
27 January 2013 | by TrentflixSee all my reviews

Metro Manila won the Audience award for best World Dramatic Competition film at Sundance 2013. This is UK writer/director Sean Ellis's third feature-length film. Set in the Philippines this is a story of a rural farmer, Oscar, who takes his wife and two children to Manila to find employment and a better life. The promises of gainful employment and opportunity however aren't as easily realized and their morals and faith are put to the test. In the Q&A Sean Ellis stated that this plot is a well-tread cliché in the Philippines but here it seems fresh, as is the setting of Manila where we are privy to its desperate slums and seedy underbelly.

Metro Manila is a combination of a family drama, heist movie and crime thriller. There isn't a lot of action but there is always the sense of inevitable violence and danger awaiting our protagonist.

Beyond writing and directing, Sean Ellis also handled the cinematography and operated the Steadicam. The film is shot beautifully with an over the shoulder documentary feel (thankfully not a shaky-cam) which brings you wholly into these characters lives and predicaments. We are constantly trapped in enclosed spaces with Oscar which provides not only intimacy, but complicity in his actions. Oscar Ramirez, played by Jake Macapagal, and his wife Mia, played by Althea Vega, both easily elicit our deepest sympathies. The performances (including our two leads) are lead mainly by native theater actors, the film is very cinematic but they bring a naturalistic presence and their talent on screen is apparent.

Oscar and his wife are devout and have tried honest labor farming. The only job she can find is in a seedy dancing bar and he is lucky to find a job transporting valuables in an armored vehicle which is considered one of the most dangerous jobs as the city is rife with criminals. Soon, he is asked to compromise his morals in the face of being able to provide for his family.

This film is a look at how the poor and disenfranchised are constantly exploited and taken advantage of as well as what greed and desperation can lead to. The sense of poverty and helplessness is palpable and is emotionally staggering. You will feel guilty for complaining about your job and any other first world problems you may have. This is a film that entertains, excites and lets you appreciate and reflect on your own situation.


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