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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BREATHTAKING
There are three very good reasons why everyone should buy and watch this film. Each are as important as the next and each are truly astounding. The first is the production of the film itself, by Sean Ellis, a British film producer and director who has only recently come to my attention. The second is the actor Jake Macapagal, who plays Oscar Ramirez in this film; such a...
Published 4 months ago by Mr. R. Johnson

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Metro Manila
It started off very slowly, then about half way through it became a lot more interesting.
Published 19 days ago by Victoria E A Pegley


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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BREATHTAKING, 12 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Metro Manila [DVD] (DVD)
There are three very good reasons why everyone should buy and watch this film. Each are as important as the next and each are truly astounding. The first is the production of the film itself, by Sean Ellis, a British film producer and director who has only recently come to my attention. The second is the actor Jake Macapagal, who plays Oscar Ramirez in this film; such a fabulous performance of utterly believable and mesmerizing intensity from him throughout. And the final reason is the role played by Althea Vega, as Mai Ramirez. Each do something very special in this film, leading this critic to label this as the best film I have seen in a very long time.

Firstly, Mr Ellis. The first thing I noticed as I was watching it for the first time today was the cinematography, the way the shots were framed, especially in the remote outer regions of the Philippines, where Oscar, Mai and their little family are resident after Oscar has been unable to work in the factory where he works. The shots of the province where the story is set are simply stunning, showing the true beauty of the place. Great care has been taken to show the beauty and the adversity in this nation, by Sean Ellis, as he tries to tell a story he himself has written, produced and directed as an independent film.

Then there is the role of Oscar Ramirez. As a film watcher, you want this man to be successful in what he does. In taking his family out of their poverty stricken region and bringing them to the metropolis that is Manila, he is taking a huge risk, but here is a man who has little hope of even buying next year’s grain, let alone farming it. Ask yourself the question therefore, how far would you go to secure the safety of your little family? This man goes to ends that most of us would not even dream of, especially when his back is forced against the wall and there is no way out. One has to admire the way Macapagal plays this, with honesty and integrity throughout. The decision he has to make at the end of the story had me shouting out at the screen, “tell the truth and do the right thing” but his choice was not mine. His was selfless. His was done in love for a family that he adored and it is in essence, a message that Ellis is asking us to consider, the depth of love in the midst of hope.

And of that is not enough reason for you to spend you hard earned, then consider this. Althea Vega’s performance as Mai is at times, breath taking in its power and raw emotion. I have seen great actors like Orson Wells and Derek Jacobi do that thing where the camera focuses on the face, and the eyes have to do the acting. It is a dramatic technique that one has to be proficient at in order to be able to show the emotion being shared. It is something that Althea Vega does so well in this film. You wait till you get to the point I am talking about and see the sheer power of the scene; a woman placed into a position such as she is in by poverty and the need to survive. This film then, is making a number of social comments about the nature of life in this metropolis and how that life can go terribly wrong. It is the performance of Miss Vega that for me, inspires me to write this review. It is a role that demands someone who can pull this off and she does it so well. My wife, who was watching it with me, had to get up and walk away at certain points because she simply could not take it any further. Such is the intensity of this film.

So, if you want to see a film that will tug at the emotions, make social comments aplenty, make you think of what you would do in Oscar and Mai’s position and show you a figure in Oscar Ramirez, that theologians would deem a “Christ figure” in the filmic genre, buy this film. The selfless act he makes at the end is simply spellbinding and had me shouting out at the screen, “oh you clever boy!” This is a fantastic film to watch and one I intend to keep. And even that awkward moment you sometimes find when watching a film with English subtitles does not exist with this one. You are half way through and it is as if you are ignoring the subtitles and know the language being spoken. Now that is classy from Mr Ellis in every conceivable way.

Buy it; you will not be disappointed!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Phillipine Tale of Love, Loss and Greed, 15 Mar 2014
By 
Tommy Dooley (London, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Metro Manila [DVD] (DVD)
This is the latest film from British born director Sean Ellis (`Cash Back'). It is set in the Philippine capital Manila - hence the title. We meet Oscar Ramirez who has to leave his farm as it won't pay the bills. He takes his wife Mai and his two daughters and with a few savings heads off to find work in the big, bad city. On arrival he finds out that trust is one character trait he should have left in the village. Desperate for work Mai is soon touting her wares at a seedy bar. Oscar finally gets a job working for a security van company.

What he first thinks is his lucky break soon turns sour when he realises his new partner is not the nice guy he has been pretending to be. What follows is the story of what Oscar is forced to do and a roller coaster of a ride it is.

This film captures some of the horrific poverty that exists in Manila and juxtaposes it with the incredible wealth of some of the inhabitants. The issues can be viewed as universal and that helps gain empathy for all the players - well the nice ones. But you can even see why greed becomes a motivation for erstwhile law abiding people. There is some violence here but it is all incidental. The acting is all excellent and it can be very emotional. It had me glued to the screen for the full 115 minutes. In Tagalog so there is some English and with some very goods sub titles; this one is very easy to recommend.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Metro Manila - A truly outstanding film, 12 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Metro Manila [DVD] (DVD)
Was very pleased have received my copy of Metro Manila actually earlier than estimated delivery time. Although I may be a bit biased having already watched the film in the cinema 8 times, as soon as I got my copy, I watched it once again!. Why do I love the movie so much? Metro Manila is a hard hitting, realistic look at the struggles which people are often forced to go to due to poverty to protect and help their families.

From the opening scene with the picturesque backdrop of the Rice Terraces of Banaue to the busy streets of Manila, this film charts the journey of Oscar Ramirez, (Jake Macapagal) and his family as they leave the provinces and travel to Manila in search of a better life. Oscar and indeed his wife (Althea Vega) are faced with some very difficult decisions and challenges on their journey through life. Plenty of twists and turns, Adrenalin, action and indeed utter despair all confronted in truly one of the best movies I have ever seen!!!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible film, 12 Mar 2014
This review is from: Metro Manila [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Amazing film with incredible plot twists and turns. Can completely see why this is BAFTA-nominated.

Absolutely fantastic - a must-see for everybody.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A really interesting offering, 13 July 2014
By 
John Chandler (Melbourne, Australia) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Metro Manila [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Despite this being a very sad and depressing film it demonstrates with great clarity how poverty and corruption cloaks the Philippines in a terrible grip. Grasping congressmen and a veneer of Christian charity keep the poor in their place!
I was deeply moved by the story and having visited Manila many many times over several decades it rang bells of veracity.

The picture however was over blue and I did not care for the colour balance. The subtitles were small and spidery and the yellow did not aid reading. The decision not to subtitle the few sentences in English was stupid as Filipino English is not that easy to understand if you are not used to it. I also wondered why it was locked to region B. It has not yet it seems been released in an A territory and most Filipino customers will be in that region and unable to play this disc. As a consequence I expect sales are unlikely to be high which is a pity as it is an impressive film despite being made on a tiny budget. It deserves to do well.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Film, 31 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Metro Manila [DVD] (DVD)
Well made film on a small budget. The awards speak for themselves. In tagalog but with english subtitles. Great Storyline and editing...makes this film a must see for everyone including budding filmmakers
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful and Moving Film, 31 Mar 2014
By 
J. Chapman - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Metro Manila (Blu-ray)
This films tells the story of a families plight to survive when they move to the city of Manila from the rural area to find work. What transpires is a wonderful movie that is heart breaking and true on so many levels. I urge all film lovers everywhere to see this film to see excellent film making and human emotions laid bare in a truely outstanding film.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent film about people who are left with no choice, 15 Mar 2014
This review is from: Metro Manila (DVD)
There are many reasons one should see this film. Sean Ellis has done a superb job in presenting a topic that we think we are already familiar with: the lengths some people will go if they think they have no options left. This is a universal theme, and, as one of the actors said, it could have been filmed anywhere in the world and still would have had the same impact. But thank goodness Ellis shot this in the Philippines - that added depth to the issue, and made the plot more believable.

I love the cinematography (even the simplest scene where one of the characters was shaking out a piece of cloth in a factory was so well thought out and beautifully done). The dialogue was so "normal", not contrived at all - when I learnt later that it was the Filipino actors who translated Ellis's English script into Tagalog, the local language, I was all the more amazed.

I loved how Ellis was able to capture the religiosity of Filipinos, without appearing to be condescending - he just treats it like a normal way of life, which it is in the Philippines. If you ever get to see the DVD, watch the featurette - it's as engaging as the film itself and shows how much of a committed artist Ellis is.

The actors Jake Macapagal and John Arcilla are absolutely amazing. Macapagal was so convincing as a country boy - simple, honest, a man whose only desire was to give his family a good future; you see the pain in his eyes and can't help but feel for his character, and in the end respect him for what he did. Arcilla has once again proven himself to be a great actor - he had a few minutes' exposure in the film The Bourne Legacy but they were very memorable; and in Metro Manila he was brilliant.

Too bad this film did not make it as a finalist in the Oscars foreign film category - more people would have seen it, and have appreciated Ellis's wonderful work.

This is a highly recommended film.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great film, 10 July 2014
This review is from: Metro Manila (DVD)
Great film. I don't want to give anything away in plot so cant really say much, but extremely enjoyable as well as being realistic and powerful. Highly recommended. Unlike Not another happy ending, which I also rented at same time. That was a terrible movie, a shame that British cinema so poor these days. Anyway rent metro Vanilla, you won't regret it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars unexpected surprise!, 20 April 2014
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This review is from: Metro Manila [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
great movie, indeed a diamond in the rough....unexpected twists and turns, very sad but potentially (in theory) the truth of what actually goes on.

recommended
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Metro Manila [Blu-ray]
Metro Manila [Blu-ray] by Sean Ellis (Blu-ray - 2014)
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