There are certain fundamental requirements involved in making a film of high impact and high quality. Those films which overlook these requirements (which differ depending on the type of film being made) may possess other attributes worthy of praise, but can never aspire to the level of quality attained by more diligent filmmakers making higher-grade product. An original plot can help a functional thriller become memorable, sober, natural-sounding dialogue can help a pedestrian drama become stimulating, heartfelt acting can help any film become affecting. Metro Manila is largely lacking in all of these - actors Angelina Kanapi and Reuben Uy are vibrant in supporting roles, though they're sparingly used and are thus exceptions. Beyond these fundamental requirements, there are other features a film can specialise in, thereby redeeming them to an extent, and establishing them as of some artistic integrity. A vivid, narratively and tonally sensitive aesthetic can vastly improve even the most mundane of projects, original musical scoring can elevate even the basest of material (I'm of the opinion that there are few filmmaking components as essential and as capable of changing the tone and effect of a film as greatly as soundtrack choices). And Metro Manila is equally deficient in these regards, with its prosaic visuals serving no apparent purpose, and its dreary, derivative score entirely uninspiring. The general dearth of anything new or especially engaging engulfs Metro Manila, up to the stage where it becomes possible to accurately forecast the outcome of every single situation the story offers up. The only hope that remains is that director / writer / producer / cinematographer (so you know he's responsible) Sean Ellis can snap into action at some point and jolt his film out of its dull daze. He doesn't.