Homunculus: Movie Review

"Homunculus" was definitely one of the most peculiar films we have seen recently. The concept was creepy, gory, and sensational even. But the execution of its actual narrative was a convoluted and confusing mess leading us to have a lot of burning questions in most of the film's key moments and scenes. We really think it needed more time to incubate and develop its out-of-this-world concepts and this would have been so much better as a full-blown series instead of a two hour film in our honest opinion. 
Nakoshi (Go Ayano) once worked for a top foreign financial company but find himself as a homeless man living inside a small car. We never really understand if this is by choice but after suffering an accident, Nakoshi has lost his memory and in the process lost his purpose in life which he is trying to find stuck literally in between the world of haves and have-nots. One night, he meets a medical school student named Ito (Ryo Narita), who is looking for volunteers to undergo a surgical procedure known as trepanation - or drilling a hole in the skull. Ito believes that doing the procedure may unlock the true potential of one's mind. At first Nakoshi is hesitant but with 7000,00 Yen at stake, he eventually agrees. After the operation, when Nakoshi closes his right eye and attempts to see with his left eye, he sees people having a distorted appearance - the distortion a form of visualization of the person's homunculus. Nakoshi eventually learns that the homunculus is one's true guilt, insecurity, and darkest secret. Nakoshi attempts to help those he finds a deep connection with, setting them free from their own homunculus - but at what cost to himself? 
There's just something peculiar about Japanese stories that truly grab our attention. It's weird but it's the right kind of weird. "Homunculus" right off the bat had this weird and intriguing vibe to it that really grabbed out attention in its first few scenes. We wanted to know why the lead character had the ability to buy himself an expensive meal and yet decides to live as a homeless man or why a weird medical student knows a lot about him when they first meet. The film had a lot of this attention-grabbing moments but very few answers to offer audiences. In fact, the film felt like it was a mish-mash of under-developed ideas, a hodge podge of brilliant premises but lacking any takeaways. "Homunculus" was really frustrating especially for us who want to understand a film's narrative and concepts while watching it. We don't want and expect answers to be served in a silver platter but we also do not want to feel like were trying to understand physics in the middle of a film experience. Outside its poorly-paced narrative, the film was actually decent. At the forefront were its visuals which had that artsy vibe to it that we really loved. The acting from Go Ayano and Ryo Narita as lead characters were also great although we wished we could have understood Ito's motivations more. Finally, there are particular scenes that definitely pushes what's acceptable or not but for us it was really "different" culturally. 
 Rating: 1 and a half reels

Why you should watch it:
- the film had a lot of disturbing images and gore if you're into that stuff
- the film's visuals was one of its stronger points

Why you shouldn't watch it:
- the story, concepts, ideas, and characters are half-baked

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