Sunday, September 18, 2011

Cold Fish

The most recent film from Japanese director Sion Sono (whose Love Exposure I loved so much), Cold Fish is a darkly comic exploration of the male psyche set against the colorful backdrop of tropical fish shops. 

The story focuses on a shy introverted shopkeeper who is unwittingly drawn into the world of an insane criminal and finds his personality completely transformed by it. The charismatic, successful businessman Mr. Murata consistently urges his lowly competitor Mr. Shamoto to "man up" and take charge of his life, effectively blackmailing him by seducing his wife and brainwashing his daughter into his Hooters-girl cult of fish store employees. Things get stranger from there…

Like Sono did in his earlier film, the director masterfully blends disparate themes into a statement about being ruthless: in business, in nature, and as a person in general. Cold Fish explores the notions of dominance & submission, sexual violence, child-rearing, blackmail, murder, and includes a few gruesome sequences of corpse dismemberment (which are also quite funny).

Overall, I enjoyed it's characters, humor, eroticism, music and went along with some pretty shocking plot twists. But its grim final act makes it a hard film to recommend to anyone with a sensitive stomach. 

An interview with the co-screenwriter… and here's the trailer. 

Apparently Sono already has a new film currently making the rounds at European film festivals -  Guilty of Romance - which looks to be more female-centric and sensual.

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