21 user 62 critic

Shinboru (2009)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Fantasy, Mystery | 12 September 2009 (Japan)
A man wakes up in a white room empty other than buttons on the walls, he must find out which button to push to get what he wants.


Hitoshi Matsumoto


Hitoshi Matsumoto (screenplay), Mitsuyoshi Takasu (screenplay)

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4 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Hitoshi Matsumoto Hitoshi Matsumoto ... The Man
David Quintero David Quintero ... Escargot Man, Antonio's Father
Luis Accinelli Luis Accinelli ... Antonio's Uncle
Lilian Tapia ... Antonio's Mother (as Lillian Tapia)
Adriana Fricke ... Karen
Carlos C. Torres Carlos C. Torres ... Antonio
Ivana Wong Ivana Wong ... Antonio's Sister
Arkangel De La Muerte Arkangel De La Muerte ... Aguila De Plata
Matcho Panpu Matcho Panpu ... Tequila Joe (as Misuteru Kakao)
Dick Togo Dick Togo ... El Super Demonio (as Dick Tôgô)
Salam Diagne Salam Diagne ... African Tribesman
Stuart-O. Stuart-O.
Chris Gurundy Chris Gurundy
Nik Sliwerski Nik Sliwerski
Jonathan Hicks Jonathan Hicks


A man wakes up alone in a brightly illuminated white room with no windows or doors. When he presses a mysteriously phallic protuberance that appears on one wall, a pink toothbrush materializes from nowhere, clattering to the floor and setting in motion a genuinely bizarre chain of events. Soon the imprisoned man is engaged in absurd and hilarious attempts to escape the gleaming room, releasing random objects from the walls, creating a life sized mouse trap game in which a rope, a toilet plunger and an earthenware jug full of sushi might just be the keys to his escape. Meanwhile, in a dusty town, a green masked Mexican wrestler known as Escargot Man prepares for an important match. His family gathers around him, worried about his seeming impassivity before battle. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Official Sites:

Official site [Japan]




Japanese | Spanish | English

Release Date:

12 September 2009 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Symbol See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Symbol: Ending Theme
Written by Yasuaki Shimizu
Performed by Yasuaki Shimizu and Saxophonettes
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User Reviews

It helps if you know Japanese slapstick - but just a bit
6 January 2011 | by Radu_ASee all my reviews

There's no mention on who the director/ lead actor Hitoshi Matsumoto is in the other reviews, which may help prospective viewers to decide if they want to see this unique film or not. Matsumoto is one half of the arguably most famous Japanese comedy duo 'Downtown'. Their style is called 'manzai', that is one guy says a lot of stupid stuff and the other butts in all the time to correct him; you may have seen this in the background of some films by Kitano, who started his career in 'manzai' as well.

If you know that type of comedy, the otherwise completely non-sequitur style of 'Symbol' won't necessarily come as such a surprise, because the whole idea of 'manzai' is to baffle the audience by pushing nonsense as far as it can go. Since Matsumoto's part is the 'boke' AKA nitwit, it's pretty much in his line to come up with the most far-fetched, senseless and weirdest story angles imaginable - after all he's been doing this on TV since 1983! The ridiculous wig he's wearing in the film is actually part of his TV antics - I remember him wobbling around with it whenever he got an idea, pretty much like what he's doing here.

What surprised me though is that 'Symbol' has excellent production values, unlike his debut 'Big Man Japan' which suffered from very bad CGI (which may have been on purpose though). Here the visuals look so well done that I can't help but wonder about the budget. Another surprise unmentioned in the other reviews: there's an appearance by 'Kiss'! Other than that, I can only confirm what everyone else said: you may love it, you may hate it, that depends on how much you can forget about any expectations you have.

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