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Monday, October 21, 2013

Flick Review: Metro Manila

10/18/2013 10:51:38 AM

Noir poetry is on the roll, and one of its biggest fruits was the movie known as “Metro Manila.” Nah, we should not be wondering on why the metropolitan has always been the subject of this type of artwork. Seems like poverty porn has always been a part of our cultural identity, eh?

It’s nice to notice though that Metro Manila was the British filmmaker Sean Ellis’ entry to the 86th Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film. Yes, pang-Oscars nga ang pelikulang ito, considering that it can actually be a convergence of Filip
ino talents and British production in one movie.

It actually tells the story of a family from the northern Philippines (Banaue to be exact), who went to Manila in order to seek for greener pastures. Well, only to found out that life in the city is not exactly as they think about. They were badly exposed to poverty, which apparently have a bunch of evil roots such as prostitution, illegal settlement (or informal settlers, rather), and even corruption at its own little way. On how dangerous a “job” may be for one whose innocent-but-fearless-and-righteous mind whom wearing a helmet, bulletproof vests, armed with guns and driving an armored car.

That’s the only details I can only divulge to you. Let your eyes do the rest of story-telling, please? All of these stories though are based from what Ellis’ impression on the Philippine capital, with the real-life story of an airplane-hijacking incident that involves a certain Reginald Chua in addition.

Well, my take though. I don’t know if it’s just me or is Jake Macapagal’s game face was really an “innocent” one? Certainly that’s the attitude he had as the show rolls, the problem is if he’s the movie protagonist, why he was seemed to be overlapped by his fellow actor (yet the antagonist of the film in the role named Douglas Ong)? Honestly, I've got nothing to tell on how Althea Vega portrayed the role of Mai. I can’t judge, except that her story (as Mai) – whom hailed from Banaue, went to the city, and ended up being a “prosti” despite being pregnant for her 3rd child – well, it seemed to be just one of those many fates women used to face when they came to the metro in totally blank and innocence.

It there’s one person that I largely recognized in this film, that’s John Arcilla; who filled in the shoes of being Oscar Ramirez’ partner-in-crime, and the only kontrabida by the name of Douglas Ong. He really made an impact on that movie. He’s not just a typical antagonist there. He offers a lot of goodies as if he’s really generous, only to find out that little by little he’s corrupting the farmer’s mind, and putting a dirty ploy that involves his integrity; Well, he also shows everyone that like Ocang Magsasaka, he too was a victim of circumstances.

Overall, I can only tell that Metro Manila is just another film displaying “harsh reality bites” of our own metropolis. However, this one is much... much heavier. Yeah, much dramatic (well, you can consider this thing a potential “tear-jerker” even if it’s not romance nor the anthropological drama type).
It’s dark; it’s deep; it’s kinda depressing, and even disturbing. However, that’s “Metro Manila” for you.

The verdict: 9

Metro Manila stars Jake Macapal Althea Vega and John Arcilla, with special participation of Ana Abad Santos. Metro Manila was co-produced, co-written, and directed by Sean Ellis.

Sources and recommended links:

Author: slickmaster | © 2013 september twenty-eight productions

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