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‘#Manhole’ review: A delightfully funny man vs. hole survival thriller

It was Nietzsche or Tex Avery – but one of our greatest philosophers – who asserted that there are two types of people in this world: those who walk through life undisturbed by manholes, and those who are destined to fall into them. Now, for the curious members of the previous chapter, comes a closer examination of what it’s like to be one of the latter: “#Manhole,” Japanese director Kazuyoshi Kumakeri’s increasingly deranged survival film about a man who will finally learn to figure out his life. The true nature of a hole in the ground.

Shunsuke Kawamura (Yuto Nakajima, from Japanese boy band Hey! Say! JUMP) is popular, successful, and possessing highly desirable good looks, standing on his two feet. It is on the eve of his wedding to the pregnant daughter of his company’s CEO, and his co-workers have organized a surprise party to roast his good fortune. Walking home drunk from the festivities, Shunsuke suddenly stumbles. He reached the bottom of a deep concrete pillar with a nasty gash as his thigh interacted with the jagged edge of the broken access ladder. The moon is perfectly framed in the top circular cutout.

Similar to many solo space survival films before, Shunsuke must use only those items at his disposal to plan his escape: his clothes, a lighter, and a stapler in his bag. Unlike many previous entries in the genre, however, these Origins include a fully charged and connected smartphone, although there are some odd glitches, such as a deleted call log and his initial reluctance to call the police, which suggest something more serious could be up. By leaps and bounds . Most of his acquaintances don’t pick up on his distress call, but he eventually gets to one, though as luck would have it, it’s hard to convince ex Mai (fellow J-popstar Nao) of the seriousness of his situation. The police too, when he finally calls them, are less than helpful.

With his GPS on the fritz and no idea where he actually is, Shunsuke turns to social media to help him out of the predicament, quickly creating a fake profile with a beautiful female avatar, reasoning that “people They want to help the girls.” Gradually, “#Manhole” gains its own hashtag, becoming as much about the manipulation of a Twitter-like platform called Pecker and its adjacent users as about unrelated threats of a leaking gas pipe, blood loss, rising rainwater and a sudden surge of toxic foam — all becoming visceral. By Yuta Tsukinaga’s small and closed-door photographer and innovative lo-fi production design by Norifumi Ataka. Basically, Shunsuke is just hoping his way out of this hole.

For the first two acts, the fun is in Shunsuke following the occasional resourceful and evasive way to solve problems. Michitaka Okada’s scenario avoided a more obvious survival metaphor: not once did the phone show a low battery warning; The lighter never runs out of fuel. Even his stunts—like setting the cell up for recording and throwing it through a manhole to get some clues about his surroundings—have you internally screaming “Don’t do that! Why would you do that?” just to no At the end of the obvious disaster they seem poised for.

But no surprise can prepare you for the aberration the film will take in its final third, when this “Buried” becomes a clichéd Old Boy. There are clues scattered throughout that there may be some kind of karmic justice at work: just because you’re a manhole victim doesn’t mean you’re not a holeshot, too. But no matter how persistently you follow the breadcrumb trail’s path, it still makes a hard detour and the whole thing threatens to unravel instantly. Undoubtedly, it would be a stronger movie if it remained a little implausible (and if it stayed in its lane/hole the whole time), but this sudden slip down the slope of credibility achieves a kind of eye-opening grace on the gravitas. And the earnestness of tone, spurred on by Takuma Watanabe’s intrigue-laden, ticking clock tones and Nakajima’s increasingly frantic performance, makes Gonzo’s nonsense all the more enjoyable.

There are distinct shades of “Phone Booth” and “The Guilty” here and like the latter, you can see “#Manhole” being snapped up by some adventurous American outfit for an unnecessary but catchy English remake. It’s nowhere near as deep as its eponymous concave, nor indeed as many treacherous holes, but “#Manhole” is an original enough mix of one-location thrills, online cautionary tales and WTF silliness to make for a fun immersion into the unknown/ Unknown. After all, the Abyss can be counted on to look back in an existential look at all who look down its path. Who knows what grudge he might have in store for the unlucky sinner into whom he falls wholly?


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