Sono Sion’s latest film, Cold Fish was the last film that really struck a chord with me at the festival. For one, its creativity is something I haven’t witnessed since watching the hallway fight in Oldboy. This 144 minute thrill ride took me through a lot of emotions since it centered around a down on his luck guy. He’s a loser basically, whose daughter hates both him and his sex life with his second wife is a joke. Before you think this is some melodramtic piece of film, I am happy to report that the gore is substantial.
Since I mentioned gore, then you probably guessed there is a bit of killing involved. Not to ruin the plot, but this movie was inspired by true events known as the “Saitama serial murders of dog lovers”; the convicted killers in the real-life case are Gen Sekine and his ex-wife Hiroko Kazama. The director took this story and made a few changes to the story by updated the time frame and filming the setting at a tropical fish shop. Where the story goes from there is best left as a surprise and I don’t want to spill the beans. What I will say however, is that just how Miike filmed his best movie this year, this black comedy is one of this directors best efforts. The way the film operates may make a few people seem uncomfortable, seeing as he takes disturbing scenes and turns it on its side by infusing humor into them. This could be a huge deciding factor in whether or not you would want to see this film. To give you a sneak peak at what I am talking about, the film follows the couple completely dissecting a human body while enjoying it and making it seem light-hearted.
Cold Fish has been described not so much a blood-and-guts horror movie, but more a social breakdown genre flick. The script has a single-purpose drive and the actors adapt accordingly. Once the story gets over the shock and awe, you soon follow the storyline into the area of consequences. Soon afterwards, police inspector Kawajiri Susumu questions Nobuyuki over Yoshida’s disappearance, suspecting that Murata is involved in the rash of missing persons in the region. It’s hard to sit still during the film, especially when the walls start closing in.
Opening up with what seems to be a family dinner on a rainy night, viewers are introduced to the dysfunctional family. By the end, you might not be able to get up immediately. The more I think about this film, the more it resonates with me. As everything is at the service of the characters and story, Murata is over-powering in just about every scene. He portrayed the characteristics of crazy and deranged perfectly. He also feels somehow unfulfilled and dissatisfied with what his life has become. By the time the credits roll, he has either found a way out, or has fallen deeper. Like I have stated earlier, this is a character study, a picture about the human capacity for evil, if you will. Even when you know where it’s going, your brain still can’t quite believe it got there. To me, it is these types of films that are the most important kinds, and I am sure this one will gain a cult like status throughout the months and years to come.
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