Greed is an addiction that has no bounds. Once you are hooked on getting things, you want to keep throwing around your hands and legs in the air to get more. It is the kind of quicksand that comes with the Machiavellian belief that “the end justifies the means.” The protagonist Stephen (Jack Key) in Geert Heetebrij’s “The Manifestation” is a living embodiment of this phenomenon. 

He is the kind of smug crypto bro who believes that if they could get one last shot at life, they can turn it around for themselves. If that isn’t typical gambler behavior, then what is? To justify his greed, he would even say that his greed doesn’t stem from personal gain but for the greater good of the ones around them. When we first meet Stephen, he has just bet everything he owns on a trade. When he loses, his trading guru, Micheal (Usman Ally), cuts him off, telling him to be on his own and go with his instinct. I mean, day trading is based on instinct, but Stephen goes ahead and works on his need to succeed by manifesting a version of his wife, Roni (Inbar Levi). Veronika is played by Levi herself but is feisty, upfront, and knows how to play the power game. 

Like most hunches, Veronika, who is a metaphorical representation of these said hunches, plays by Stephen’s rules by allowing him to bet on the right trades. However, as time goes by, she starts mingling into his personal life. This causes a wall between Stephen and his wife; a dysfunctionality in their relationship is explored through Stephen’s inability to understand what a fully functioning family needs in order to survive. He is the kind of self-centered, self-boosting man who would do anything to make a statement. This is a flawed character, and Jack Kesy plays him with the right kind of straight-faced, wooden expression for you to not like him.

Jack Kesy as Stephen in The Manifestation (2024).
Jack Kesy as Stephen in The Manifestation (2024).

Heetebrij uses Stephan’s manifestation as a tool to investigate the dark side of wanting to succeed. His visual cues are on point; for instance, his home office suddenly turning into a pro-trading workplace when he sits down to bet or the ceiling of his home literally collapsing as he takes a step into a downward descent are a few examples of how he uses his low-budget aesthetics to great effect.

That said, not everything works in ‘The Manifestation.’ The character work beyond Stephen is not that great. Even though Inbar Lavi, who you may recognize from Netflix’s hit series Lucifer, gets a dual role, both her characters feel like caricatures at best. The horrendous wig that is used to differentiate between Roni and Vronika is an eyesore and the only thing you would pay attention to when it’s on the screen. Additionally, while the film kicks off with an interesting idea and hook, it feels like Heeterbrij loses control of how to steer his narrative to a rousing close. The third act, in particular, feels rushed and completely out of control in comparison to what it sets out to achieve. 

Overall, ‘The Manifestation’ is an interesting directorial debut that, in spite of many narrative inconsistencies, manages to dive into the addictive nature of greed with its supernatural premise.

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The Manifestation (2024) Movie Links: IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes
The Manifestation (2024) Movie Cast: Jack Kesy, Inbar Lavi, Usman Ally, Jonathan Leigh West
The Manifestation (2024) Movie Genre: | Runtime:
Where to watch The Manifestation

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