“Metro Manila” (2013) is a British film set in The Philippines that opens with Filipino rice farmer Oscar Ramirez (Jake Macapagal) struggling to support his family in the northern rural Banaue Province. Facing the harsh reality of their circumstances, Oscar packs up his wife and two children and relocates them to the southern metropolis of Manila in the hopes of finding work.
Ultimately locating an abandoned one-bedroom in the slums, the family begins to settle in as well as possible, with Oscar beginning a new job as a security officer for an armored courier outfit. Oscar grows close to his new partner, Ong (John Arcilla), while his wife finds employment as a nightclub as a hostess, and things slowly appear to be coming together. But the film quickly transitions from a human drama to a high-stakes thriller, as blackmail, robbery and murder become inextricably linked to Oscar’s fate.
Written and directed by Sean Ellis ("Cashback", "Anthropoid"), “Metro Manila” is a surprising and absorbing hybrid of cultural exposé and dynamic suspense film, drawing impressively from both genres and delivering something altogether new and exciting to the screen. A lesser-known gem of an international release that is sure to surprise and engage you thoroughly.
View the trailer: