A surprisingly low-key and mysterious film from Ohtomo. I've got pretty used to him as a capable blockbuster director, I didn't quite expect this sullen drama with mystery elements driving it forward. He does pretty well in fact, though part of that is due to the very strong cast, who take some pressure off of Ohtomo's direction.
When Konno moves towns for his new job, he finds himself all alone. At work, he connects with Hiasa, a guy who's about the same age as Konno. They spend some time together, but then Hiasa suddenly quits his job and their relationship grinds to a halt. Some time later they meet up once more, but then Hiasa goes missing.
With guys like Ayano, Kunimura and Matsuda around, you know the cast is going to do its thing. The pacing is deliberate, the way the story unfolds smart, the cinematography stylish. There's no extra sparkle to make this a real stand-out feature, but Beneath the Shadow has no obvious weak points. Prime filler in other words.