S Spanish artist and filmmaker Pascual Sisto has made his directorial debut with this film, written for the screen by Nicolas Giacobone, known for his screenwriting collaborations with Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu : it has been selectedfor the First Feature Films section of the 2020 Cannes Film Festival canceled by the Covid. John and the Hole is fairly well photographed and acted out, but it is truly an oppressive and infuriating work of uselessness, lacking consistency or the courage of its realistic beliefs.
John (Charlie Shotwell), is a 13 year old child in a wealthy American family (traditional scenes of tense family dinners) whose main interest is tennis. He is clearly estranged from Dad Brad (Michael C Hall), Mum Anna (Jennifer Ehle) and older sister Laurie (Taissa Farmiga). Moody, lonely, John one day discovers a large concrete-lined hole in a nearby forest, part of an abandoned construction site - so he drugs his family and puts them there while they are out.
As the days of their imprisonment drag on, John's family becomes mad with hunger and pafuck in their hole and frantically scream at their impassive son to let them out. But wait. How did he drug them? How did he bring them down there without breaking all the bones in their bodies? And most importantly, how come they never need to go to the bathroom?
Well, there is a boring alibi which puts all this into perspective, involving a set of other characters: a young girl and her mother, the latter who herself begins to behave in a bizarre and disconcerting way, but without risk or consequence
. Maybe the movie wants to show the fear of the child in adulthood and the fear of the childhood of the adult. But the resulting effect is a sterile, dismissive and derivative exercise in a sub-euro-art test and essay. But there is no trial because nothing is at stake.