Metro Manila
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Ellis, whose previous films include the award-winning CASHBACK and THE BROKEN, travels to the Philippines to tell the story of Oscar Ramirez, a down-on-his-luck farmer who flees the countryside with his family to look for a brighter future in the bustling, overwhelming metropolis of Manila. Oscar believes he has caught a break when he is offered steady work for an armored truck company and his kind and gregarious partner takes him under his wing. But when his seemingly prosperous gig unravels, Oscar realizes the inherent dangers of his new job and gets caught in a complex and perilous scheme… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 96%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"The movie works as a contemporary look at desperation in crime-riddled Manila, but it's also as deliciously old-fashioned as the late '40s-era film noir "Kiss of Death," and nearly as entertaining."
‑ Rob Nelson, Minneapolis Star Tribune
"For all the images of slum life at its most desperate and violent, Sean Ellis' Metro Manila is an exploitation movie masquerading as social drama."
‑ Scott Tobias, The Dissolve
"The story is perhaps a bit too tidy, broadly signposting both themes and plot twists, but a natural cast and the urgent camerawork make it a riveting ride."
‑ Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
"Metro Manila may be rife with well-worn genre devices, but this sporadically creative thriller is bolstered by Sean Ellis's keen eye for both visceral action and relationship drama."
‑ Joe Walsh, Film4
"Tales of country innocents corrupted by the big city have been a staple of cinema since the silent era, but the theme is bracingly updated here, in the colourful squalor of modern-day Manila."
‑ Steve Rose, Guardian
"It's pacy, engrossing, and Jake Macapagal's turn as the plucky schmuck protagonist is stellar"
‑ Trevor Johnston, Time Out
"Sean Ellis doesn't so much understand Filipino society as merely see it as grist for standard genre fare, perhaps hoping that the foreign setting will somehow automatically make the clichés feel fresh."
‑ Kenji Fujishima, Slant Magazine
"There's a tenderness in the depiction of the central family which was notably lacking from Ellis's earlier work, and the nuts and bolts of the heist narrative are handled with slow-burn dexterity."
‑ Mark Kermode, Observer [UK]
"The influence of Ken Loach makes way for the dynamics of a Quentin Tarantino-style heist. The result is an expertly crafted heartbreaker that cuts to the core of desperate lives."
‑ Allan Hunter, Daily Express
"Characterisation basic. But plot well-turned and pace moodily rubato, as in the best kind of B-movie."
‑ Nigel Andrews, Financial Times
"Boasts the stock characters and situations, sentimentality, foreshadowing and melodrama of soap opera. Yet by cleverly blending these ingredients with those of an action caper, the pic presents a fresher appeal."
‑ Alissa Simon, Variety
"It's drama, it's crime, it's a story of a family's survival against the struggle of life and even though it lacks the blood, gore, zombies and the monsters of the Fantasia Film Festival, Metro Manila is a horror story in its own unflinching way."
‑ Nikola Grozdanovic, The Playlist
"One of the most enrapturing experiences I've had at the movies in 2013: fiercely, grandly humanist, and almost unbearably tragic."
‑ MaryAnn Johanson, Flick Filosopher
"Ellis proves that the slow-burning thriller can still work as both an entertainment and as a penetrating social critique."
‑ Eddie Harrison, The List
"Good but could have been great."
‑ Sophie Monks Kaufman, Little White Lies
More reviews for Metro Manila on Rotten Tomatoes