Genre: Drama / Thriller
Director: Sion Sono
Starring: Mitsuru Fukikoshi, Megumi Kagurazaka, Hikari Kajiwara, Asuka Kurosawa, Denden
Duration: 144 min.
Shamoto runs a small tropical fish shop. Murata also runs a tropical fish shop, Shamoto establishes a bond of friendship with him rather quickly. His daughter Mitsuko even begins working for Murata and living at his house. What Shamoto is unaware of is that Murata's friendly face disguises his many deep dark secrets. By the time Shamoto realizes that Murata is not what he seems, he finds himself powerless to do anything about it.
Cold Fish is a Japanese film directed by Sion Sono and co-written by Yoshiki Takahashi and is loosely based on actual events ( a pet shop running husband and wife couple convicted of serial murders in Japan in the 1990's ). It premiered at the 2010 Venice Film Festival.
This one begins with a stylishly jump cut edited opening sequence, leading to a film that starts off looking like it could be a serious drama, but slowly reveals itself to be a wildly gruesome, profusely gory, and brutally twisted black comedy and social satire that entertains and shocks with equal measurements.
With some great acting, most notably from Japanese acting legend Denden who plays Murata, a disgustingly evil man who hides his true nature effortlessly. But also from Mitsuru Fukikoshi as the hapless and timid Shamoto, who suddenly learns that the world is not a shiny blue paradise, and not the least from Asuka Kurosawa, as Aiko, Murata's sultry young wife who might just be even more psychotic than her husband.
The one thing that it suffers from is an inconsistent middle act that drags with several scenes (the parts with the Yakuza in particular I felt were not essential to the story) that could have been left out or shortened with the frantic jump cuts employed in the beginning.
Still fans of extreme cinema will not be disappointed here, this is a film that requires both an open mind and strong stomach, and those who make it to the end will be treated to a perversely insane finale that they will not soon forget. With Cold Fish, Sion Sono sets himself firmly atop the throne of extreme Japanese cinema filling the role that Takashi Miike seems to have left behind.