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Metro Manila (2014)



Average Rating: 7.5/10
Reviews Counted: 25
Fresh: 24 | Rotten: 1

Infusing thriller tropes with a searing glimpse of modern-day corruption, Metro Manila is just as gripping as any action blockbuster -- and twice as thought-provoking.

No Score Yet...

Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 3
Fresh: 3 | Rotten: 0

Infusing thriller tropes with a searing glimpse of modern-day corruption, Metro Manila is just as gripping as any action blockbuster -- and twice as thought-provoking.



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Average Rating: 4.2/5
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Movie Info

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,


Mystery & Suspense, Drama

Sean Ellis

Oscilloscope Pictures - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (25) | Top Critics (3) | Fresh (24) | Rotten (1)

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.

March 31, 2014 Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's pacy, engrossing, and Jake Macapagal's turn as the plucky schmuck protagonist is stellar

September 17, 2013 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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.

January 29, 2013 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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.

August 20, 2014 Full Review Source: The Dissolve
The Dissolve

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.

August 18, 2014 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

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.

September 27, 2013 Full Review Source: The Playlist
The Playlist

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.

September 27, 2013 Full Review Source: Shadows on the Wall
Shadows on the Wall

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.

September 23, 2013 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

One of the most enrapturing experiences I've had at the movies in 2013: fiercely, grandly humanist, and almost unbearably tragic.

September 20, 2013 Full Review Source: Flick Filosopher
Flick Filosopher

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.

September 20, 2013 Full Review Source: Film4

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.

September 20, 2013 Full Review Source: Daily Express
Daily Express

Ellis proves that the slow-burning thriller can still work as both an entertainment and as a penetrating social critique.

September 20, 2013 Full Review Source: The List
The List

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.

September 19, 2013 Full Review Source: Guardian

Characterisation basic. But plot well-turned and pace moodily rubato, as in the best kind of B-movie.

September 19, 2013 Full Review Source: Financial Times
Financial Times

Good but could have been great.

September 19, 2013 Full Review Source: Little White Lies
Little White Lies

It begins as a swirling drama of survival in the Filipino capital - but then suddenly it slips off down an alleyway, only to emerge a scrupulously engineered, Christopher Nolan-ish crime thriller.

September 19, 2013 Full Review Source: Daily Telegraph
Daily Telegraph

There's a visceral sense of urgency in this cleverly made thriller that holds our attention even when the plot begins to feel over-constructed.

September 19, 2013 Full Review Source:

Metro Manila is an intense and emotionally gripping crime drama with a powerful narrative, arresting cinematography and some truly impressive performances from its cast, and Jake Macapagal in particular.

September 19, 2013 Full Review Source: ViewLondon

Brit filmmaker Sean Ellis does terrific work balancing the disparate elements of his crime-laced drama. Recommended.

September 16, 2013 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

A moving morality tale set in a world rarely seen in western cinema, Metro Manila is an underdog drama that feels as authentic as it is original.

September 15, 2013 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

Metro Manila is a film to be reckoned with, offering a gripping narrative, poetic imagery and some social commentary to boot.

September 11, 2013 Full Review Source: Eye for Film
Eye for Film

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