Directed by Sean Ellis
Seeking a brighter future in megacity Manila, Oscar Ramirez and his family flee their impoverished life in the rice fields of the northern Philippines. But the sweltering capital's bustling intensity quickly overwhelms them, and they fall prey to the rampant manipulations of its hardened locals. Oscar catches a lucky break when he's offered steady work for an armored truck company and gregarious senior officer Ong takes him under his wing. Soon, though, the reality of his work's mortality rate and the murky motives of his new partner force Oscar to confront the perils he faces in his new job and life.
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★★★★ review by Helen_S on Letterboxd
Described on TV as a violent thriller. While there was a bit of both it was for the most part a really depressing drama so naturally I loved it!
★★★★ review by Len Fearnside on Letterboxd
From director Sean Ellis who directed the uneven, but quite decent Cashback (among other things, which I have not seen) comes something completely different, a hard luck Filipino pseudo-action thriller.
I think this film is a perfect example of how enjoyable a rather overdone story can be turned into something great just by putting it in a new setting. Granted, I have not seen a tonne of films set in the Philippines, so it may just be new to me, but seeing the landscapes of the country, then the very rough and tumble Manila itself, was awesome and I was invested the film throughout even if just as a document of a place I have not been. Fortunately, there is enough solid work here so that you actually have an interesting story and some characters you become invested in. It was hard not to feel for this down on their luck family as things go from bad to worse.
There were a few turns in the story which kind of made no sense to me, but overall I thought this was a very solid, enjoyable watch, with a bit more polish than Cashback.
★★★★½ review by Lee Morgan on Letterboxd
Wow. This stunning film carries one hell of an emotional punch. Beautifully filmed too with a stunning score, I absolutely loved it.
★★★½ review by Raul Marques on Letterboxd
A gripping crime thriller that, even being a little predictable, beautifuly paints a cruel picture of the horror of the society.
★★★★½ review by Varghese Eapen on Letterboxd
“Things are never as they seem. A person. A Mark. A statement. They are always deeper than we perceive, like walking in the ocean and suddenly dipping under the surface because the bottom has disappeared beneath your feet. The water appears shallow until you are suddenly flailing around beneath the surface, desperately searching for stable ground once again" - ― Kelseyleigh Reber
Impressive effort from Sean Ellis...Background score alternating between subtlety and impending doom...Restrained performances with a realistic feel! Worth a watch!
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