Deathrow (2001)

Genres - Drama  |   Run Time - 113 min.  |   Countries - Philippines  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Synopsis by Jonathan Crow

Veteran filmmaker Joel Lamangan directs this harrowing journey of one young lad negotiating through the jungles a maximum-security prison in the Philippines. An orphan raised among distant relatives in the slums of Manila, Sonny Corpus (Cogie Domingo) likes little more than hanging out with his buddies Celso, Jimmy, and Rodel. When Celso cons Sonny into participating in a robbery along with his friends, Jimmy and Rodel end up dead along with an old lady. Unable to prove his innocence of the crime (Celso pulled the trigger) and unable to prove his minor status, Sonny gets pinned with the crime and sentenced to death. Sonny quickly learns the rules and hierarchies of the prison -- Mio is the boss who recruits Sonny as a pusher for his illicit smuggling business. His trusted henchman Gabino (Pen Medina) is quietly plotting a palace coup and tries to win Sonny over with gifts and favors. Yet when Sonny makes it clear that he's loyal to Mio, Gabino exacts an awful revenge. Later, Sonny is taken in by Lolo Sinat (Eddie Garcia), an aging gangster whom everyone in prison respects. This film was screened at the 2001 Toronto Film Festival.