On the Job (Philippines)

On the Job is an extremely engaging and cynical film that throws you immediately into the purposefully confusing story with two assassins about to go to work. The men are "on the job" and in prison at the same time. An evilly brilliant plan if you think I about it. The "powers that be" are pulling everyone's strings in a way that's as insidious and corrupt as can be. The "based on a true events" opening cards make it all the more real. Over the length of the film the story follows this pair of assassins (one older, one younger) and a pair of what appear to be the only two clean cops in the city (again, one older and one wizened). Part actioner, part melodrama it's a pretty darn good ride. Highly recommend keeping an eye out for it. Film is opening 9/27 in NYC and LA with a nationwide roll-out to follow.

Both story lines following the criminals and police are engaging and grant a disturbing view into corruption from top to bottom in Philippine society. Positively, neither provides much in the way of exposition - you figure out what's going on by paying attention. The prison is less of what one expects from US conventions and more a sprawling walled off community filled with criminals off all stripes. Both imprisoned professional killers have relationships on the outside that their killings allow them to participate in more fully than they could behind bars. The older of the two worries that his impending release may take away his ability to earn effectively on the outside. Of course he also ought to be worrying about how his current employees feel about him wandering about with more options to choose from. The younger and central figure of the two policeman is married into privilege - his wife being the daughter of seriously higher ups. Which means they may expect certain discretion from him - keeping in mind that schemes going on clearly have a scarily high level of sanction.

But it's not just a rotten to the core story of Faustian bargains. On the Job also repeatably brings the tension in a ways one would hope for in a tale of cops and cold blooded assassins. Most notably with an incredible stand out set piece involving a bit of cleanup at the local hospital. That alone would cover the price of admission in my view. But the unique perspective of a society's ugly underbelly, thrill ride moments and complex melodrama tie together into a thoroughly entertaining package. Keep your eyes peeled for this one. Even after an intense week of Fantastic Fest On the Job stands out and demands attention.

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