Monday, July 11, 2011

Jmovie review: Cold Fish/Tsumetai Nettaigyo

From Sion Sono, the director that gave us the amazing Love Exposure comes Cold Fish, another movie that examines repression with results more akin to a Park Chan Wook movie. Fukikoshi Mitsuru is Shamato, a passive fish shop owner who comes home to a young but estranged wife and a daughter who does whatever she wants. It is a family that exists for the mere sake of existing but has there is no connection at all between the members. Making happy faces for the public while being miserable at home.

Very nice cinematography.

A shoplifting incident involving Shamato's daughter gets him involved with Murata (Denden) the owner of this huge fish shop who drives a Ferrari. He seems to take an interest in helping Shamato's family out and with Murata's overbearing and cheerful personality, Shamato can't say no. Murata offers Shamato's daughter a job at his shop which is basically hooters with the purpose of selling fish instead of beer and food.

IMO, boobs can sell anything.

There, the family meet's Murata's very sexy wife Aiko, played by Kurosawa Asuka. Things seem be looking slightly better for Shamato until we see that Muratas are not who they seems to be. To say more would be to spoil the movie but what follows involved murder, mutilation and lots of sex and nudity. I should just use that make this a one line review because the previous sentence should be enough to convince you to watch it.

How I wish I were that finger puppet.

I've always wished that the Japanese could do dark and violent comedies like the Koreans used to do well but the Japanese always had this invisible set of rules and sensibilities that prevent them from getting too gory in their movies and they are only left with B grade gore. Its like the mvie studios are saying movies can't be too violent because people go to movies to escape reality and audiences can only accept slapstick comedy and not dark, ironic comedy.

The hottest scene involving two women and finger puppets on film.

I have no idea how famous Sion Sono is in Japan. I should have mentioned his movies when I was there but I am pretty sure he is more famous overseas. He continues his trademark of using classical music that slowly becomes louder during climatic scenes and at the basic level of the movie goes back to the theme of repression that he handles so masterfully in Love Exposure.

This time it is about Shamato learning to be a man and his seemingly master/disciple relationship with Murata. Makes me wonder who much of Murata choosing Shamato is because he thinks Shamato is easy to manipulate and how much is because he sees so much of himself in Shamato that deep down Murata wants to save him. Got to mention Kurosawa Asuka. She is the very definition of sexy. She's like Kichise Michiko with boobs and she doesn't have to 'protect' her image because she's an actress more than a tv personality.

The only thing that really bothered me was how the movie ended. Just because a movie has lots of violence and gore doesn't mean that it must have a karmic ending. I know its kind of par for a lot of B grade and softcore movies but emotionally it was too nihilistic. Its not that great but its still better than most Japanese movies out there so I think its very worth watching. Just don't eat food at the same time. Now excuse me while I start looking for Kurosawa Asuka movies.


Jesus Christ Supercop said...

"I should just use that make this a one line review because the previous sentence should be enough to convince you to watch it."

Nah. It seems like the older I get the less inclined I am to watch movies like these. I've never much cared for them to begin with.

I even quit Thirteen Assassins after 10 minutes. I found the scene with Mitsuki Tanimura (the ill-fated wife) too depressing and upsetting, because she's my favorite actress (however, it did reveal that blackened teeth and a lack of eyebrows do surprisingly little to reduce her attractiveness). I'd rather watch Yatterman.

Cold Fish seems like yet another movie that's based solely on shocking jaded viewers with gore, violence and depravity in a never-ending game of oneupmanship. The viewers then make some vague references to (non-existent) "thought-provoking social commentary" or something.

maiku said...

I can relate. With age I've lost interest in horror, gore, and bleak dramas. Probably because I'm more aware of world events. There's enough mutilation and suffering on the news. These days I watch movies for fun and escapism.

Of course if people are into the genre, more power to them. I've got no problem with it.