On the Job (2013 film)

On the Job

Theatrical poster for the Philippine release
Directed by Erik Matti[1]
Produced by
  • Leonardo T. Po[1]
  • Dondon Monteverde
  • Malou Santos
  • Charo Santos-Concio
Written by
  • Michiko Yamamoto
  • Erik Matti
Music by Erwin Romulo
Cinematography Francis Ricardo Buhay III
Edited by Jay Halili
Distributed by
Release dates
  • May 14, 2013 (2013-05-14) (Cannes)
  • August 28, 2013 (2013-08-28) (Philippines)
  • September 27, 2013 (2013-09-27) (United States of America)
Running time
121 minutes
Country Philippines
  • Tagalog
  • English
Box office PHP13,459,037 (Philippines)[3]
$164,620 (US)[4]

On the Job is a 2013 Filipino crime thriller film directed by Erik Matti. The film stars Piolo Pascual as Attorney Francis Coronel, Jr. , Gerald Anderson as Daniel Benitez, Joel Torre as Mario "Tatang" Maghari and Joey Marquez as Sergeant Joaquin Acosta . The film was screened and had a world premiere in the Directors' Fortnight at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France. The film is a co-production of Star Cinema and Reality Entertainment as part of Star Cinema's 20th year anniversary presentation.


In the Philippines, corrupt politicians and police cause abundant crime and poverty. Hitmen Mario and Daniel murder a man named Tiu. The two are prisoners who are regularly released from prison to perform hits for their boss Thelma in exchange for money. Mario uses his money to support his daughter's law school tuition and estranged wife Lolet. Daniel, the younger and more reckless partner, sends some of his money home and spends the rest on goods and privileges in prison. Daniel has come to see Mario as a mentor and father figure. After the hit of Tiu, they are sent back to prison. Tiu's murder case is assigned to NBI Agent Coronel through Congressman Manrique, who is Coronel's father-in-law. Coronel's father, also a policeman, died amid rumors of corruption. When Coronel and his partner, Bernabe, arrive at the local precinct, Sgt. Acosta, a 20-year veteran who feels the case was taken from him for political reasons, resists them.

Mario and Daniel are released and kill a woman named Linda. Upon hearing of his wife's murder, Linda's husband, Pol, immediately calls Acosta. Acosta reveals that Tiu's murder is just one of several murders ordered by General Pacheco, a high-ranking military officer who is running for the Senate, and a close friend of Manrique's. Pacheco runs a murder-for-hire operation using prisoners, killing anyone else involved to protect his campaign. Acosta agrees to protect Pol and heads to the station. While Coronel and Bernabe confront Acosta, Daniel shoots Pol, but his gun jams before he can deliver the fatal shot. The three officers converge on them, forcing Daniel and Mario to flee. At a hospital, Daniel creates a distraction and allows Mario to kill Pol. The two split up and flee. Coronel and Bernabe chase Daniel, and Acosta goes after Mario. As the two escape, Bernabe is shot and Mario sprains his ankle; Acosta relays Mario's face to the police, which unknowingly stuns Mario's family.

When Coronel discovers Mario's identity, he visits Lolet, who is with her lover, Bhoy. Lolet does not talk, but Coronel relays the information about her affair to Acosta, who unsuccessfully attempts to use it as leverage against Mario during an interrogation in jail. Mario feels disillusioned and betrayed by his family's abandonment, and relays this to Daniel.

Coronel confronts Manrique at a Reform Party presentation and explains that he intends to arrest Pacheco, but Manrique warns Coronel that they will both fall with Pacheco, as Manrique was one of Pacheco's clients. Coronel leaves in frustration and decides to continue working with Acosta. Acosta tells Coronel that his father was not corrupt and was killed while trying to expose corruption; Acosta himself was demoted for his part.

Coronel and Acosta discover that Tiu's father can provide them with the evidence they need to arrest Pacheco. On the way, Coronel abandons Acosta to visit Pacheco, who admits that he killed Coronel's father. Coronel is secretly recording this conversation with Pacheco on his cell phone. After recording this conversation, Coronel goes home and informs his wife Nicky on his intention to take down Pacheco, incriminating Manrique in the process. She slaps him repeatedly. Pacheco's men kill Tiu's father.

The next day, Daniel murders Coronel in front of the police headquarters, although it is unclear why he was targeted. Enraged, Acosta assaults Manrique and Pacheco's security detail, which results in a brief shootout until Pacheco orders them to cease fire. On the day Mario is to be released, he realizes that he has nothing on the outside, as his family no longer wants anything to do with him. In order to stay in jail, he stabs Daniel to death. Coronel's death is mourned by many, including Nicky, and Acosta is discharged and investigated for Coronel's murder. Mario visits his home, kills Bhoy in front of his family, and returns to prison. A recovered Bernabe looks through Coronel's possessions and finds the cell phone that Coronel used to secretly record an incriminating conversation with Manrique and Pacheco. Bernabe requisitions the cell phone as evidence.



Title Composer(s) Producer(s) Singer(s)
"Maskara" Pepe Smith and Juan dela Cruz Band Armi Millare and Erwin Romulo Juan dela Cruz Band
"Perpekto" Dong Abay Robin Rivera Dong Abay
"Mateo Singko" Dong Abay Robin Rivera Dong Abay
"Pinoy Blues" Mike Hanopol Radioactive Sago Project and Erwin Romulo Radioactive Sago Project
"Deep Seated Contemp" Armando Nogueras, Fred Sandoval, Malek Lopez, Mark Young Bent Lynchpin Bent Lynchpin
"Terraform Archivist" Armando Nogueras, Fred Sandoval, Malek Lopez, Mark Young Bent Lynchpin Bent Lynchpin
"Things Unknown" Armando Nogueras, Fred Sandoval, Malek Lopez, Mark Young Bent Lynchpin Bent Lynchpin
"Between Two Points" Armando Nogueras, Fred Sandoval, Malek Lopez, Mark Young Bent Lynchpin Bent Lynchpin
"Rested Note" Armando Nogueras Bent Lynchpin Caliph8
"Struck a Responsive Chord" Armando Nogueras Bent Lynchpin Caliph8
"Quadrille for Five" Armando Nogueras Armando Nogueras Caliph8
"Grit (Dindi's Blues)" Fred Sandoval Fred Sandoval
"Gabi" Kalila Aguilos Pasta Groove Pasta Groove
"Ayoko sa Dilim" Francis M. (published by PolyEast Records) Francis M. and Hardware Syndrome
"This Will Be Broken" Armi Millare Ely Buendia and Armi Millare
"Clap" Fred Sandoval Fred Sandoval
"Natural Evils" Fred Sandoval Erwin Romulo
"Pasion" Armi Millare and Ely Buendia Armi Millare and Ely Buendia



Erik Matti was encouraged by Todd Brown of Twitch Film to start the screenplay. Brown also promised Matti that he will provide potential investors to the project. This however, was not pushed through after the first draft of the script was not yet completed. Star Cinema initially declined to co-produce the film. However, the company had changed its mind after Matti had revised the script. Later on, Matti asked Piolo Pascual of the lead role. Pascual was responsible for Gerald Anderson's casting in the film. Joel Torre, was already offered for his role in the film even prior to the completion of the screenplay.[5] Four uncredited consultants were also asked to help and thoroughly shape up the some details in the story.[2]

Distribution and release

The poster used at the Cannes Film Festival.

The film was screened and had a world premiere in the Directors' Fortnight at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France.[6][7] The Directors' Fortnight is a noncompetitive, independently programmed section of the film festival.[8]

The film will be distributed by Star Cinema locally starting on August 28, 2013.[2][9] It will also be released in North America in the fall of 2013 and will be distributed by Well Go USA Entertainment.[10][11] The deal was brokered by Pfardrescher of Well Go USA Entertainment, and Nate Bolotin and Aram Tertzakian of XYZ Films (producer for the American adaptation).[12] "'On The Job' reiterates that it is an exciting time for Filipino cinema," said Doris Pfardrescher. "We are thrilled we were able to acquire the movie before its premiere in Cannes and can’t wait to bring it to audiences in North America.[13] Aside from North America, it will also be released in France by Wild Side Films,[11] and in Australia by Madman Entertainment.[13]

The deals with French and North American distribution companies secured 350 thousand US dollars or 12 million pesos. Also included in the deal with the North American distribution company, Well Go USA Entertainment, is that the company will be responsible for DVD/Blu-Ray and video on demand distributions.[11]


It was well-received both by local and foreign critics. A US remake is currently under pre-production.

Critical responses and reviews

Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregator, reports that 100% of fourteen surveyed critics gave it a positive review; the average rating was 6.7/10.[14] According to Justin Chang, a senior film critic in Variety, "...On the Job is a gritty, convoluted but steadily engrossing crime thriller from Filipino genre maven Erik Matti. Although this fast-paced actioner takes a while to sort out its parallel plotlines, extending from an unusually porous prison system to the highest political offices, it ultimately fires on all cylinders as a tense, well-acted B-movie whose strong local flavor is unlikely to survive the inevitable offshore remake."[1] According to a review by Film Business Asia, "It's a movie that slowly sucks the audience in as the structure becomes clearer — a gamble by Matti that pays off in the end but could still take a few trims and clearer organisation in the first half. What keeps the viewer hooked are the performances".[15]

The Hollywood Reporter described the film as a "likably rough-edged hitmen-vs.-cops thriller."[16] On the other hand, Allan Hunter of Screen Daily said that, "Director and co-writer Erik Matti seems more comfortable with staging action sequences and generating noir-like atmosphere than creating nuanced characters or subtle dialogue but the basic story of crime and corruption at the heart of a rotten society is involving enough to forgive any infelicities." Hunter called it "essential viewing on its home territory".[17]

In the Philippines, GMA Network said that "the underlying pleasure here lies in seeing mainstream actors performing against type in a story that leaves no character unscathed."[18]



Aside from the Cannes Film Festival, the film was also screened at the 17th Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival in Bucheon, South Korea.[19] At the said film festival, Joel Torre received the Best Actor award, and the film receiving the Jury Prize.[20][21]


The film was one of twenty one selected feature films screened in the Directors' Fortnight at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France from May 16 until 26, 2013.[7][22] Though it did not win the Caméra d'Or prize, the film was well received by the viewers and was given a two-minute standing ovation.[2][23]


The film is reported to have a US adaptation and will be directed by Baltasar Kormákur, the person who also directed Contraband and 2 Guns.[24][25] The remake will be produced by Kormákur's Blueeyes Productions. XYZ Films, the production and sales company that represents the international rights to the film, will also co-produce and will release the remake film worldwide.[26]

Matti is also planning to make a sequel to the film.[24]


The film will having a six-part miniseries as a sequel, and will co-produced with streaming service HOOQ and Globe Telecom's Globe Studios. The sequel miniseries will be exclusively available on HOOQ. The miniseries will feature Arjo Atayde, Bela Padilla,[27] Jane Oineza,[28] Leo Martinez, Dominic Ochoa, Smokey Manaloto, Ria Atayde and Christopher De Leon.


  1. 1 2 3 Chang, Justin (June 12, 2013). "Film Review: 'On the Job'". Variety. Retrieved August 16, 2013.
  2. 1 2 3 4 Dimaculangan, Jocelyn (August 15, 2013). "OTJ (On The Job) budget reaches almost P50 million; Piolo Pascual became emotional when OTJ received standing ovation in Cannes". Philippine Entertainment Portal. Retrieved August 15, 2013.
  3. Gross in the PH
  4. Gross in the US
  5. Agulto, Mikey (August 8, 2013). "10 Things We Learned About 'On The Job,' According to Esquire". FHM Philippines. Retrieved August 16, 2013.
  6. San Diego, Bayani Jr. (April 23, 2013). "Erik Matti makes it in Cannes Directors' Fortnight with 'On the Job'". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved August 16, 2013.
  7. 1 2 "List of films in Cannes Directors' Fortnight". Cannes Film Festival. Agence France-Presse. April 23, 2013. Retrieved August 15, 2013.
  8. Rañoa-Bismark, Maridol (April 30, 2013). "'On the Job' joins Cannes". Yahoo! OMG! Philippines. Retrieved August 15, 2013.
  9. Joaquin, Teodoro Jose (September 5, 2013). "Why 'On The Job' is getting rave reviews". ABS-CBN News. Retrieved September 25, 2013.
  10. Kay, Jeremy (May 23, 2013). "Well Go gets On The Job". Screen Daily. Retrieved August 15, 2013.
  11. 1 2 3 San Diego, Bayani Jr. (June 6, 2013). "P12-M foreign deals for PH's 'On the Job'". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved August 15, 2013.
  12. Fleming, Mike Jr. (May 23, 2013). "Cannes: Well Go USA Lands N.A. Rights To 'On The Job'". Deadline. Retrieved August 15, 2013.
  13. 1 2 Holloway, Clint (May 24, 2013). "Well Go USA Acquires Filipino Thriller 'On The Job' Ahead of Its Cannes Premiere". IndieWire. Retrieved August 15, 2013.
  14. "On The Job (2013)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 29 October 2014.
  15. Elley, Derek (May 29, 2013). "On the Job". Film Business Asia. Retrieved August 16, 2013.
  16. Young, Neil (May 30, 2013). "On the Job: Cannes Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 16, 2013.
  17. Hunter, Allan (May 23, 2013). "On The Job". Screen Daily. Retrieved August 16, 2013.
  18. Lecaros, Mikhail (August 30, 2013). "Movie review: 'On the Job' is a two-fisted tale of scum and villainy". GMA Network. Retrieved October 29, 2014.
  19. Macahindog, Jecelyn V. (July 27, 2013). "Joel Torre, 'OTJ' win big at PiFan 2013". Manila Bulletin. Retrieved August 16, 2013.
  20. Dimaculangan, Jocelyn (July 28, 2013). "Joel Torre wins Best Actor, OTJ (On the Job) wins Jury prize in South Korea". Philippine Entertainment Portal. Retrieved August 16, 2013.
  21. "'On the Job,' Joel Torre win in Korea". Philippine Daily Inquirer. July 28, 2013. Retrieved August 16, 2013.
  22. Dimaculangan, Jocelyn (April 23, 2013). "Piolo Pascual and Gerald Anderson-starrer, OTJ, included in Directors' Fortnight of Cannes Film Fest". Philippine Entertainment Portal. Retrieved August 16, 2013.
  23. Evangelista, Patricia (August 1, 2013). "Piolo, Gerald and Joel on the job". Rappler. Retrieved August 16, 2013.
  24. 1 2 Brown, Todd (June 26, 2013). "Baltasar Kormakur To Remake Erik Matti's ON THE JOB". Twitch Film. Retrieved August 16, 2013.
  25. Cremin, Stephen (June 26, 2013). "XYZ confirms On the Job remake". Film Business Asia. Retrieved August 16, 2013.
  26. Fleming, Mike Jr. (June 20, 2013). "Baltasar Kormakur Eyes Feature On Scandal That Inspired Cannes Pic 'On The Job'". Deadline. Retrieved August 16, 2013.
  27. Buan-Deveza, Reyma (November 8, 2016). "ABS CBN news: 'On the Job' now a series; Arjo, Bela to star". ABS CBN. Retrieved November 20, 2016.
  28. Cruz, Nafa (November 20, 2016). "Jane Oineza joins OTJ miniseries cast". Instagram. Retrieved November 20, 2016.
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