Rainy Day Movie is a feature here on Living With a Nerd that provides short insights into movies and series that you should save for a rainy day. In this edition of Rainy Day Movie, we take a look at the unique and at times graphic Japanese movie Man, Woman, and the Wall.
Note: Major character spoilers ahead, however no plot spoilers ahead
Ryo moves into an apartment next to an attractive woman named Satsuki. He becomes obsessed with her, and begins listening to her daily activities by placing a sensitive microphone on the wall between their apartments. As her interactions with her boyfriend become worse, he gets involved in her life as a friend. That more or less sums up the plot without ruining anything for you. Interestingly, this thriller is rare in that the plot doesn’t drive the film forward…the characters do.
Appearances are certainly deceiving in this film. Ryo, while listening in on his neighbor via a microphone on the wall, would seem to be a creepy horrible person to live next to. However, his obsession appears to be harmless; he likes to listen in, but gives no indication of wanting to act out. As the film goes on, Ryo reveals himself to be quite a charming and nice guy…not a mean bone in his body. As he gets to know Satsuki better, his thoughts turn from obsession to genuine interest. No longer having to imagine what she is like, Ryo finds out she is everything he hoped that she would be…and more.
The film shifts back and forth between traditional cinematography and some very unique shots. Much of the film takes place in two sparse rooms, with mostly the same angles shown in each. There are some very creative ways the film portrays Ryo’s imagination; the way certain locations shift as his knowledge of them goes from imaginary to first hand is the best example of this.
Many people will likely have issues with this film. From a couple of semi-graphic and lengthy sex scenes to some slow sections, this is a movie that requires your commitment to wanting to know what happens in the end. Thankfully, the wait is worth it; the ending is absolutely perfect. Getting there may feel a bit tedious at times, but stick with it.
Man, Woman, and the Wall makes for a great rainy day movie. Between its slightly somber tone, scenes of humor, interesting cinematography, and providing a great catalyst for conversation, this is one film you will want to have some time to reflect on after viewing. Highly recommended, but make sure the kiddies aren’t around.