Capsule Review: The Hole

Written by Michael Clawson


On the cusp of the new millennium, two neighboring apartment dwellers, one living above the other, seem to nearly drown in their loneliness. They’re essentially the last ones in their complex; everyone else has been driven out by evacuation orders as an epidemic, the so-called “Taiwan fever,” rages throughout the area. A never-ending torrential downpour keeps them inside, their curiosity towards each other and longing for companionship growing with every passing day. A hole in the man’s floor/the woman’s ceiling, caused by a plumbing issue, becomes a kind of passageway, one for both the tangible and intangible. They might not have much for entertainment, but at least the man and woman have cinematic memories to escape into, represented by magical little song-and-dance interludes; it’s like Tsai lifted the sequences straight out of a classic movie musical and restaged them in this dilapidated apartment complex. That last gesture, the simple offering of a glass of water—so moving. No one knows how to end a movie better than Tsai.

The Hole Trailer

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