Fantasia Reviews

[Fantasia] ‘#Manhole’ Review: A man trapped in a manhole and his past

Japan boasts a vibrant cinema culture that includes a wide array of captivating genres, from horror and kaiju to chanbara. One such film, #Manhole, directed by Kazuyoshi Kumakiri (Kikuchi), stands out as a thrilling exploration of suspense and mystery, sure to enthrall cinema enthusiasts.

The story revolves around Shunsuke (Yûto Nakajima), a successful real estate agent with a promising future. On the eve of his wedding to the boss’s daughter, his colleagues throw him a raucous, alcohol-fueled party. In a fateful turn of events, Shunsuke stumbles and falls into a manhole while walking home, injuring his leg and leaving him trapped without a functioning ladder to escape. Desperate for help, he calls friends and the police, but no assistance arrives. Isolated and in distress, he resorts to creating a fake social media account in a bid to attract attention. But can the online community really come to his rescue and save him from the depths of the hole?

While the premise suggests a survival tale, #Manhole weaves a much deeper mystery at its core. The reason for the absence of help becomes apparent when Shunsuke’s phone GPS fails to function, hinting at a possible kidnapping. This captivating enigma prompts the audience to ponder: Who could be responsible for Shunsuke’s predicament? And could his followers on social media play a role in his salvation? Throughout the film, viewers are taken on a complex and engaging journey from start to finish.

Yûto Nakajima, a member of the renowned music group Hey! Say! JUMP, delivers a convincing performance as Shunsuke. His portrayal of the protagonist’s misadventures draws the audience into the character’s emotional turmoil. At times, some actions may appear absurd, but when placed in the context of distress, it invites contemplation about Shunsuke’s state of mind. Evidently, some unresolved trauma from his past might be resurfacing, adding layers of depth to his character. As the film progresses, several questions remain unanswered, urging viewers to consider a second viewing to fully grasp the intricacies of this compelling masterpiece.

In conclusion, #Manhole presents an improbable yet mesmerizing tale that goes beyond mere survival, immersing the audience in a thrilling web of mystery. Yûto Nakajima’s commendable performance, coupled with the film’s thought-provoking narrative, makes it a must-watch for cinema enthusiasts. Be prepared to be captivated from the outset, as this Japanese thriller takes you on an unforgettable cinematic journey through the depths of intrigue and suspense.


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