Reef Hunters

112 minutes

Marilou Diaz-Abaya directed this elemental tale from the Philippines about an autocratic and abusive fishing-boat captain who hires village boys to do the dangerous work of diving after fish in coral reefs. Don't look for subtlety or sophistication in the storytelling—this 1999 drama is the kind that asks you to cheer the good guys and weep at every setback, that expects you to be unable to resist kids looking into the camera with big, innocent eyes. Still, Cesar Montano makes the captain a magnetic presence, even though the script burdens him with loads of silly lines, and the underwater sequences are breathtaking.

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