Title: Cold Fish

Also known as:
Tsumetai nettaigyo (Original title)

Year: 2010

Genre: Thriller / Crime / Drama

Language: Japanese

Runtime: 144 min

Director: Sion Sono

Writer: Sion Sono & Yoshiki Takahashi

IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1632547/

Syamoto gets dragged into some criminal business after his daughter is caught stealing and ends up working for the man she stole from. It turns out that he was a very generous man, and also wants to have Syamoto as a business partner. Soon things take a turn for the more morbid after their other partner decides to get out of a deal.

Our thoughts:
There's no surprise that a film like "Cold Fish" has gotten the attention and hype it has been getting when you consider what it turns into. But my biggest issue with the movie is that before it takes that turn, we've been watching a very typical crime/thriller for almost 2 hours already. The first part is a good set-up, and it's not boring. It's just not up there with the best of the year. The ending then? Yes, maybe the ending is up there, because that's where it gets interesting and takes a stroll to some more original areas. But I just can't praise it that much when I felt like I was watching some random thriller on TV for the first 2 hours (doesn't mean it's bad, though!). Please make sure to understand that I think it's a good movie still. At times a very good movie, even.

So what is it about then? It's about a man who meets a psychopath and is forced into working with him. He doesn't know it at first, of course. If we rewind a bit... Our lead, Syamoto is married to a woman that isn't his daughter's mother, and his daughter hates her. And him for being with her. His daughter is caught stealing. After having talked it through with the man she stole from, it turns out that he wants to hire her to work in his shop. And because he is in the same business as Syamoto, they eventually start talking about working together. When this cycle starts, Syamoto will also witness the murder of one of their business partners, and later the chopping of his body. This is only the beginning in what will eventually change Syamoto's view of life.

At times a bit silly, at times completely bleak, and at times extremely bloody, "Cold Fish" is a crazy movie to say the least. Even in its most standard scenes, the acting of our protagonist Murato is just so off-beat and eccentric that I couldn't help myself from laughing at him. I'm not sure if this was a good thing or not, but it's one of the things that makes me think of this movie as anything but a "feel bad movie". Which is odd when you consider what's going on, really. Most people seem to disagree with me, saying that it does make you feel bad, but I just couldn't see it. Even in it's violent ending you are left with a smile. Clearly there must be an intent to amuse as well, right? Or am I just missing something?

The movie has some really gory scenes where they chop up the bodies, and they're well made in all their graphic glory. I have another issue here, so hold tight. I didn't like that basicly all the gory scenes were the chopping scenes, and all of the chopping scenes were pretty much copies of the last one, which mean that only the first one left an impact (but I did enjoy the fight in the blood later on) on the viewer and the other ones made you feel "meh, seen this already". I don't think taking the scenes away is the solution, I would recommend a build-up where in the first scene they only show it briefly. And towards the end we see it all with body parts and all. That's just me.

"Cold Fish" has its intense, perverse, over-the-top and strange moments, but for the first 2 hours it's a pretty standard fair crime/thriller about a guy who gets into some bad business and has to help out with murder. Once it turns after these 2 hours, it gets more interesting. There's some attempt to tie it all together, which works pretty well. It has a satisfying ending, which is essential to a film like this, but the fact that it goes pretty insane is most likely the entire reason why it's so popular. Fans of similar movies won't be shocked or even surprised, but you'll most likely dig it. I might sound grumpier than I am about it but the story never goes from good to great and that's something that left me disappointed. But the movie is still highly recommended if you want to watch an off-beat thriller!

Positive things:
- Overall a good movie.
- Good FX.
- Decent-to-great acting.
Negative things:
- It really needed the ending it had after the first 2 hours of so-so story.

Gore: 3/5
Nudity: 2.5/5
Story: 3/5
Effects: 3/5
Comedy: 2/5

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