190) Metro Manila (2013)
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.
9/10 – Winner of the Audience Award at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, as well as Best Director and Best British Independent Film at the British Independent Film Awards, this powerful film is not to be missed. Written by Sean Ellis (Cashback, The Broken), Metro Manila takes place in the second largest city in the Philippines, following the Ramirez family trying to survive in this challenging and foreign environment. It’s gritty and raw, I’d liken it to City of God for it’s apparent authenticity with the only flaw being that the narrative seemed a little too polished. Whereas City of God focuses on the area as a whole, this thriller focuses in on the one family and as a result the story-line takes on a creative but slightly unbelievable tangent.
That being said, I loved the film. The soundtrack, the cast and the cinematography were all impeccable. It kept me gripped for the duration and felt fully drawn into their world. Sean Ellis clearly knows what he’s doing, and out of his three main works this would undoubtedly be his finest yet. Excellent drama, highly recommended.