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All Critics (14)
| Top Critics (7)
| Fresh (13)
| Rotten (1)
"On the Job" is a sturdy and sophisticated crime drama from the Philippines that takes a pretty gruesome situation and enriches its presentation with lots of human detail.
Matti uses this setup to show the rot in Philippine society, and it's often compelling stuff - filmed mostly on dirty streets and in moldy, ramshackle buildings.
Even at its most incomprehensible, the propulsive thriller "On the Job" is never less than arresting.
Makes up in character development and action shots what it lacks in narrative innovation.
Despite the relative flatness of [the] characters - their relationships to one another are more archetypal than particular - the film is as heartbreaking as it is heart-stopping.
The film manages to create some moments of genuine nervous tension, but is undercut by its split storytelling.
Despite outbursts of passion and bloody anger, the actors don't completely sell the movie.
an audacious trawl through the gutter of Manila's political structures, evoking the very best conspiracy thrillers of the 70s while remaining utterly contemporary and local.
This is a film whose signature image might be a bloody middle finger in the midst of a very lethal intersection shootout.
A great premise, solid acting, and some really interesting shots from director Matti make this well worth watching.
On The Job is a chance to see the original, messy thing.
Matti's primary order of business is regularly serving up tense, stylish action sequences, and he proves more adept choreographing those than sorting out the convolutions of his parallel plotlines.
This might be the Filipino equivalent of The Departed, even with that shocking moment at the end of the film that you weren't expecting. If you watched The Departed then you know the one I mean. It's not as shocking in this film, since you're kind of expecting it, but it's a good moment nonetheless. I digress, this is a pretty damn good crime drama from the Philippines with a hint of reality as the events that happened, I'm assuming only the prisoners being let out to kill targets, actually adds an air of authenticity to the film. The film's opening credits feature highlights from real newscasts about the assassinations that were committed by the prisoners. Whether the real life story had anything to do with this story, where the people were being assassinated to get rid of all the underworld connections to facilitate Pacheco's run at the senate without any scandals. The film deals with corruption pretty much on every possible level. Politicians, cops, and even the prisoners trying to protect their positions of power by doing absolutely anything they can to stay right where they are. This is definitely a movie you've seen before, in fact I'm reminded of Elite Squad: The Enemy Within. That film was a grittier portrayal of the underworld, but this film also has that same grit, realism that made Elite Squad such a great movie. The story itself takes a while before it gets going and before the connections to Pacheco start becoming clearer, but the film handles this pacing issues very well and the film just has a confidence about it that ensures that it'll rise above the rest, even if the elements themselves are familiar. The score/soundtrack was also surprisingly good, it helped create tension in some of the more dramatically charged scenes. Another good thing about the story is that while there's no real resolution, none of the guilty parties in this assassination ring ever get charged with any crimes, but the suspicion is there to where you could continue with that if you were ever to do a sequel. But, at the same time, if you don't do a sequel, the story still comes to a satisfying conclusion, because the pressure is starting to mount up on Pacheco and those involved in his assassination ring. So, either way, the film has a satisfying ending. And that's not the only thing that can be picked up on if you were to do a sequel, Tatang's decision to do what he did, as he had lost everything, and the effects that his actions have on his mental state can also be explored in the sequel. Big fan of this film, it's certainly not The Departed, which is a classic, but it's still a pretty great crime drama and hoping to see more films like this, or just quality films in general, come from the Philippines.
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