Movie Review: On the Job

By William Kustiono

On the Job is a Filipino action thriller directed by Erik Matti, starring Joel Torre, Gerald Anderson, and Piolo Pascual. On the Job exposes corruption down to its deepest level in the Philippines. Set in Manila, the film displays great impressions of the entire political, military, and police systems that are full of corruptors. On the Job is a movie based on the true story that depicts the real world situation of this third world country.

Mario Maghari (Joel Torre) and Daniel Benitez (Gerald Anderson) are employed as part-time assassins by a secret organization in the underground world. Mario and Daniel met as inmates at a prison fully guarded by military police. After recuited to be assassins, Attorney Francis Coronel, Jr (Piolo Pascual) gets their case and finds himself challenged. He decided to put all of his efforts to solve the case in the name of justice. As he gathers information about the murders, Francis comes across the greatest conspiracies that threaten the Philippines’s politics and government.

The story is perfectly executed, the plot builds up from the beginning till the end. When the assassins execute their first target and the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) begins to track down the assassins, its a never-ending suspense. As the plot reaches its peak, both parties inevitably meet and engage in a fight to the death.

There are other aspects in the movie such as sound and plot that complete the action and thriller experience. The audio makes the film more suspensful and leaves the audience grasping for more action and answers. The plot is very much linear, but there are some holes that might leave the audience a bit clueless. The language of the movie is a mix between Tagalog and English and it is easily understandable with the English subtitle. For an action movie, it was quite short. As the plot builds to the climax, it instantly falls to the ground. It feels that Matti needs to create a sequel to fill in the gaps.

The movie has won an award, albeit the holes in the movie. Joel Torre received the “Best Actor” award and the film received the “Jury Price” in the Cannes Film Festival. The movie was one of the twenty-one selected featured films that was screened in the Director’s Fortnight at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.

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