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: 93%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Proof that you can't go wrong with the same old story."
‑ Liam Lacey, Globe and Mail
"It's pacy, engrossing, and Jake Macapagal's turn as the plucky schmuck protagonist is stellar"
‑ Trevor Johnston, Time Out
"The painstaking set-up for the heist is both admirable in its detail and off-putting in the slick way it exploits poverty, reducing social drama to a genre gimmick."
‑ Radheyan Simonpillai, NOW Toronto
"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
"As bleak as a Dickens novel, yet twinned with a contemporary heist drama, Metro Manila straddles two worlds in telling the story of a desperate family man who moves from a small farm to the city."
‑ Linda Barnard, Toronto Star
"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
"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
"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
"Satisfying as entertainment and remarkably cathartic as drama, this is a masterful achievement that deserves to find the audience that the marketplace seems determined to deny it."
‑ Michael Dequina,
"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
More reviews for Metro Manila on Rotten Tomatoes