Corruption abounds in this stylish, Cannes-selected, ripped-from-the-headlines story of prisoners released on a day pass to work as killers. The cops must bring them in, never knowing how far the corruption spreads and who they can trust.
Director Erik Matti LIVE in attendance!
The story that would become ON THE JOB began innocently enough with some idle chatter between veteran Filipino director Erik Matti and his driver, who spun a tale of the time he was imprisoned and employed as a killer by a consortium of corrupt prison officials, dirty cops and gangsters. He’d be sent out on day pass to eliminate the targets they set for him. After all, being a prisoner in jail, he had the perfect alibi.
It was the sort of outlandish story that couldn't possibly be true, except shortly afterwards a major scandal broke in which a sitting politician eliminated a rival employing using exactly such a hit man during the lead-up to an election. It was very real... and Matti knew he had his next film.
Selected as part of the Director's Fortnight program in the 2013 edition of the Cannes Film Festival, ON THE JOB tells the parallel stories of two killers - the older grooming the younger to take his place with his parole looming - with a pair of cops. One officer is a grizzled veteran, the other a young up-and-comer discovering his own connections to the scheme as they try to bring the killers down.
A stylish, character-driven thriller that invites comparison to the work of Johnnie To, ON THE JOB's depiction of Manila's gritty streets is an engrossing entry in the canon of Asian crime film that immediately marks its creator as a significant talent to watch. (Todd Brown)