Friday, 12 August 2011

Cold Fish.

As you can gather from a recent blog, Sono Sion’s Love Exposure (2008) really impressed me and I’ve been looking forward to seeing his latest release Cold Fish (2011) ever since. I can assure that I was not disappointed. This ultragoreistic black comedy is apparently based on a serial killing that took place in Japan in the 1990’s. An exotic dog-breeder Gen Sekine and his common law wife Hiroko Kazama poisoned at least four people and then dismembered and disposed of the remains. The couple were eventually caught and hung for their endeavours. With Sono’s film substitute tropical fish breeder for exotic dog-breeder and you’re some way there.

Domestic bliss.
Shamoto Nobuyuki (Fukikoshi Mitsuru, Love Exposure 2009, The Twilight Samurai 2002) runs a small tropical fish outlet from his dysfunctional home. His daughter, Mitsuko, is resentful of her stepmother Taeko, who in turn refuses to have sex with her husband for a variety of reasons. When Mitsuko is caught shoplifting in a local store, middle-aged rich businessman Murata Yukio offers to mentor the young girl and allow her to work in his much larger, and what seems a more prosperous, tropical fish emporium. Yukio’s attractive sexually obsessed wife Aiko (Kurosawa Asuka, A Snake in June 2002) takes the girl under her wing.  Meanwhile Yukio starts a sadistic affair with Taeko who in turn try’s to convince her husband to go into partnership with this rather overpowering businessman. The timid Mr Shamoto soon wishes he had never become involved in Mr Murata rather dubious business affairs.

Aiko see's the funny side.
After this fairly ordinary start the movie quickly descends into a manic portrayal of murder, sex and gore with some brutal and shocking scenes similar to those that can be found in Takashi Miike’s somewhat bizarre movies. For some reason these scenes do not seem especially disturbing! The reason for this is the dark, but very funny, black humour and secondly It’s like reading a comic book with lots of violence on the page that you don’t tend to take seriously, does that makes sense?  Although I would suggest it may offend some people. Philip French describing it as “rather like attending a school for apprentice butchers” But please don’t think I’m trying to dissuade you from this movie, it’s an intriguing film whose run time of 146 minutes seems no longer than 90 minutes and the acting is absolutely first class with a special mention for the Japanese comedian Denden who plays the outlandish Murata Yukio, his presence on the screen is totally mesmerising, you can’t take your eyes off the man. The cinematography will not offend either. Go on you know you want to see it?
Whats for lunch dear?

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