Starring Jake Macapagal and Althea Vega, the film, which won the Audience Award at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, tells the story of Oscar Ramirez (Macapagal) and his family’s ill-fated search for a better life amid the hustle-and-bustle of Manila’s seedy underbelly. After securing a job as a security driver, however, Ramirez becomes caught up in the violent drug culture that dominates large areas of the city.
METRO MANILA centers around Oscar Ramirez, a poor rice farmer from the Northern Philippine mountains, who moves his family to the capital mega-city of Metro Manila in search of a better life. The sweltering capital’s bustling intensity soon overwhelms the Ramirezes, and they fall prey to the manipulations of hardened locals. Left penniless, Oscar gets a lucky break when he is offered steady work at an armored truck company and is taken under the wing of its friendly senior officer, Ong. Grateful for the job, Oscar doesn’t realize how dangerous it is; after all, Manila is a city where machine gun-wielding security guards are seen in every shop, from banks and jewelry stores to Starbucks, and where armed robbery has become a daily occurrence. Driving a cash-laden armored truck makes Oscar a moving target, but robbery isn’t the only danger he faces: when it becomes apparent that Ong was lying in wait for someone just like Oscar for some time, and that his motives for hiring him were far from altruistic, Oscar finds himself ensnared in a web of intrigue far more perilous than anything he faces on the mean streets of Manila.