On The Job (2013) a film by Erik Matti
Impressive. I was speechless after seeing the film. The movie ticket was inclusive of unlimited-heart-thumping-after-effects. Sulit na sulit, ika nga.
But this film doesn’t need to prove itself. Albeit the standing ovation at Cannes Film Festival after its premiere, the acknowledgments from international award giving bodies, the raves on the web whatsoever, this is an IN YOUR FACE SLAM depicting the irregular shape of our country bombarded and bastardized by these unscrupulous powerful figures wearing Louis Vuitton leather masks to conceal their demonic true identities. “This film is based on true events”, as the opening scene began to roll, it is REALITY channelled thru art, where all you can see is the truth exemplified by the geniuses behind this masterpiece.
Ugly is the new pretty. Yes, that’s right. The wonderful cinematography explains that contradicting statement. You can totally appreciate and feel the filthy setting – the Metro. If you’ve seen the film, you probably noticed the faded grandeur of Manila that was once a noble city gradually trampled up to this day, becoming the hideous city it is right now.
The reviews weren’t overrated. When I learned that the movie was about to have its local debut, I was hesitant at first. Wait, who? Gerald Anderson. Meh. Piolo? Hmmm… Good thing I read the reviews and I wanna give it a shot. For the love of “f”. Films.
Why would I deter myself to watch a worthy film because of my hatred for eye-candy-artists? Come on. I hate those people who keep on saying that local films aren’t good (pero wag ka, nakapila yan pag may MMFF at gasgas na romcom, comedy for idiots at may infidelity issues na pelikula), but when authentic good local films are shown, they don’t give a damn. I’m not one of them. I can smell a good one miles away. I just doubted those poster boys if they can pull it off. I have no problem with the acting chops of Piolo, I am distracted with his beauty overkill. As for Gerald, I really don’t get it. Why him? To portray an inmate? Are you kidding me? This is neither Prison Break nor Hollywood. This is Philippine Cinema.
Thanks to the flashy reviews, I wanna see it for myself. When I entered the cinema, I’m still convinced that the movie was only overhyped and the reviews I’ve read were too good to be true. And then, BANG! My skull was blown and divided into several parts. They did a very great job. The poster boys redeemed themselves. Even though G.A. was like saying “OMG! WTF!” whenever he tries his best to spill the curse words, his performance was acceptable. The reviews are legit, oh shit!
You’ve already read the synopsis or other reviews of the film, I suppose. The storyline and the script, WOW. Just, wow. And this was one of the greatest ensemble cast. This is where the spoilers unfold.
Joel Torre. TATANG! You are the best. Period. I cannot think of any actor who can ever do justice with Tatang’s character. It’s as if he was born for this role. No traceable acting job here. “As is where is” method. Mario “Tatang” Maghari is Joel Torre’s alter ego. His eyes can shout out the lines, DIE! DIE! DIE! Putang*na ang galing!
Gerald Anderson. Daniel. I think the only “sablay” thing he did with his role was his pesky conyo accent. Like I said earlier, whenever he curses it becomes comical, the gritty mood of the film dissolves. But I’m willing to eat my words because he did his best ON THIS JOB.
Piolo Pascual. Atty. Francis Coronel Jr. Nobility, Bravery and Integrity. NBI. His character very well displays it all. If only he wasn’t that good looking maybe it could bring more impact with his character. They should have let him grow his beard for this movie but that’s just me. He nailed it anyway. Good job. And oh, that unforgettable scene when I cringed in my seat and uttered: PUT-TONGUE-IN-AHHH… Bravo Piolo!
Joey Marquez. SPO1 Acosta. A revelation! I never imagined that he could act the way he did. His antics were on timing and balance the film’s dark persona. The depressing truth in our society is clearly manifested by his character. “Be good and you will be lonely” or much worse, “Do the right thing and you will never win”. “Ganun kadumi ang sistema. P*ta”.
A lot more artists gave one of their best performances in this film.
Vivian Velez - superb! Mas nakakatakot pa siya minsan sa hired killers
Angel Aquino – great acting as always, and wait until she says the P.I. word, huh!
Michael de Mesa - I like his role here, as Cong. Manrique, very brilliant
Leo Martinez - as Gen. Pacheco, I love the lines, “Do you think the President and the lawmakers are running this country?”
William Martinez. Rayver Cruz. Lito Pimentel. Shaina Magdayao. Dawn Jimenez. Empress Schuck. They all deserve a ^slow clap^.
Watch out for the cameos of other actors/actresses. My favorite was the scene of Joey Marquez with Rosanna Roces and JM de Guzman. Mapapa-LOL ka sa batuhan nila ng mga linya. Hahaha!
And one more thing I really liked in OTJ was the musical score. At ang galing talaga nung pasok ng Mateo Singko ni Dong Abay. Sobrang swak lang sa eksena. Sapul!
The film wasn’t perfect. It still has its own share of flaws. In my opinion, the love scenes were irrelevant (but a macho film like OTJ must have it, I know), I just thought of the shift from the fight/chase scene to the love scene exhibited the bakbakan in action films (please tell me you get what I mean). Another one was the LRT chase scene. Daniel’s behavior was so obvious but Francis was still uncertain when he looked at his target. I just hoped it was called for the suspense part of cinematic representation. Boo.
My favorite scenes from the film:
The opening act. It all started with a big BANG! That was whoa! Unbelievable. But it was dramatically executed. It felt real.
Hospital commotion. I wanted Tatang to kill the victim right away to cease the thrills and suspense. Aaaarrrggghhh. It’s a heart-stopping scene!
Confrontation of Francis and Gen. Pacheco. The blatant truth exposed.
My PUT-TONGUE-IN-AHHH moment. I didn’t see it coming. I felt that shot too. Okay, Piolo died in a gory state. Gerald was the culprit. There, I said it. But if you watch the film, you won’t see it coming. I promise. You’ll still be shocked.
The car chase. I admired SPO1 Acosta’s character for doing the suicide stunt. I felt his outbursting anger and deep agony due to this fucked up system. The dirty finger applies to all. Classic. (I also liked the symbolic use of the cars, the powerful are impenetrable, the powerless are always weak).
The last scene of Tatang and Daniel together. I have three answers to Daniel’s last words: Tatang, bakit?
1. It was figurative. Trust is never earned. It can only be ruined. It can be used against you. It can make you weak. Or there is nothing trustworthy left in this world. Once you give your trust, you are good as dead. Learn to fight the dirty fight in order to survive in this hell in disguise.
2. Tatang learned to love Daniel as his own son. He cannot let him make the same mistakes he did in the past. He doesn’t want to create his Frankenstein’s monster. He did it because he cared for Daniel. The vicious cycle of their intertwined lives will never stop and could be much worse if he retires and let Daniel continue his job. For Tatang, this is enough. It will end here. Now.
3. Tatang was just pure evil. Daniel is nothing but a shit in his ass. Nothing will ever replace him as the cold blooded hired killer of the syndicate. As shown in the movie’s last scene, as Tatang walks away and gets inside the tinted vehicle without any dialogue, it is evidently shown in his gloomy eyes, like he was telling us: “Ako ang bida dito, tang*na niyo!”
Me: ***FLABBERGASTED!***To Direk Erik Matti and the rest of the gang/crew: SALUTE! Hayup! 👌😱👍
(I won’t say this is the film that FINALLY redefined and uplifted Philippine Cinema, because it isn’t just OTJ. We have a variety of superb films like OTJ but we chose to demoralize our industry).