Cold Fish (2010)

Original Large Theatrical Movie Poster Art Cinema Film 2010 Cold FishI like to watch films without knowing anything about the plot beforehand. This means I get to fully enjoy every twist from start to finish; I’m like a nun walking onto a porno set.

I am able to do this for two reasons. Firstly, I almost always watch films alone, so I do not have to worry that my viewing choices may offend another’s sensibilities. And secondly, I am very open-minded when it comes to the arts; almost anything goes. The only things I abhor are poor scripts and bad acting.

Most cinema-goers do have taste boundaries. This means they have to read up on a film before they watch it. Some viewers don’t like violence; others stay away from sex; others are offended by blasphemy; etc. Then there are different degrees to what people can stomach. Some people can watch violence but not when it is extremely graphic; some can watch sex scenes, as long as they are not unsimulated – which tend to be hardcore – even if the scene only makes up a tiny proportion of the film; others cannot handle animal cruelty, even fully aware it is simulated.

We all have our limits which, when pushed too far, have us reaching for the stop button on the remote control.

This brings me to Cold Fish; a brilliantly written, acted and directed Japanese film which took me through a roller coaster ride of emotions. This film is severely over the top in places – but in a good way, if you like that sort of thing. If you believe you are as open-minded as I am, stop reading right here. Go and get the film, watch it, then come back and let us know what you thought. Of course, you are already at a disadvantage: because now you will probably expect too much!

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Let’s just wait for them to close the door behind them…

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So I have to warn the rest of you that Cold Fish is a very black comedy which, on occasion, is extremely gruesome. There is a lot of blood and gore. It is not on screen for a long time but it is there long enough to prick your imagination into believing you have seen a lot more of it than you actually have. If you don’t mind that, then watch this film. It is an absolute gem.

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You can find more information on this Japanese movie on Wikipedia and IMDb.

The following trailer is very badly made. What a shame. I am sure it puts many people off watching this glorious film. As always, I recommend you don’t ruin any surprises by reading spoilers or watching trailers. But I know a lot of you can’t resist! So here it is:

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Title: Tsumetai nettaigyo  a.k.a.  冷たい熱帯魚

Language: Japanese

Direction: Sion Sono  a.k.a.  Sono Shion  a.k.a.  園 子温

Screenplay: Sion Sono, Yoshiki Takahashi

Cinematography: Shinya Kimura

Editing: Junichi Ito

Score: Tomohide Harada

Stars: Mitsuru Fukikoshi, Denden, Asuka Kurosawa

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Full Acting Cast and Roles

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About Shimky

Hi there! I run Wonderful Cinema. I hope you like the site and some of the recommendations. Please leave us a comment recommending a film for us to watch. My avatar is a crop of Luke Chueh's Black in White painting. All the best Shimky.

21 comments

  1. Agree with your initial comments 100%.

  2. I had written that I’m not a film critic, I’m a film fan – and as long as the filmmakers try to make something decent that doesn’t insult my intelligence, that is well-written and entertaining, I will like it. I even like the trailer here with the exception of the last 5 seconds where I couldn’t read the subtittles fast enough. I would like to see this.

    • Hi Mike. I think that’s a really good attitude to have.

      Yes, maybe I was too harsh on the trailer. But after seeing the film, the trailer seemed like a poor comparison.

      I hope you get to see Cold Fish. I’d be interested to hear what you thought.

      Cheers
      Shimky

  3. Dave

    Oh! I absolutely loved this film! It was mind-blowing, and totally un-nerving.

  4. Excellent! Big Sono Sion fan right here. I love this movie. I agree Japanese trailers tend to be very different from what we’re used to (I’m sure they think our trailers are bad!). I definitely noticed the humor more the second time I watched it and knowing the director better helped as well.

    • Hi Davide!

      2001’s Suicide Club is the only other of Sono’s films I’ve seen so far.

      Cold Fish is part of Sono’s ‘Hate’ trilogy. The other two are Love Exposure (2008) and Guilty of Romance (2011). I’ve got hold of copies of them and will watch them once I’ve let Cold Fish’s images dissipate a little.

      Interesting that Sono has his ‘Hate’ trilogy and Park Chan-wook from South Korea has his ‘Vengeance’ trilogy. If you don’t know them already, you must watch Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002), Oldboy (2003) and Sympathy for Lady Vengeance (2005). The first two are sheer brilliance. The last one is slightly weak but still worth watching.

      • Cool! Hope you enjoy those. Both excellent! Love Exposure is my favorite Sono and just one of the coolest films I’ve ever seen, but I don’t want to hype it too much :D

        I do love the Vengeance trilogy and I agree with you the last one is a bit weak. But Oldboy! Wow. Such an awesome film.

  5. MIB

    Good post!

    I’m also a big Sono fan and this is one of those films that hits you between the eyes, appals you, upsets you, shocks you yet somehow ends up being brilliant all at the same time!

    And if you didn’t already know, the lucky bugger is married to leading lady Megumi Kagurazaka! :P

    • Great to see you stopping by again, MIB!

      No, I didn’t know that they were married. She really is a looker and a great actress.

      Cold Fish really is a mix of emotions that ties up into a very satisfying package. I found the whole thing more amusing than anything else! Are we sick or what!

  6. MIB

    If you like Mrs. Sono have you seen the film that followed this one, Guilty Of Romance – a dark exploration into sexual perversions and murder? She plays a shy shop worker who becomes a porn star/prostitute! I’m not sure if Sono is rubbing it in the faces of the rest of us for having a hot wife or is being a bit of a pig for parading her naked on screen! :P

    • Either way, it sounds good!! :D

      • MIB

        Hehe! :)

        Be warned however that the UK version is sadly actually shorter than the original Japanese version (approved by Sono himself apparently).

        The film follows three women but the UK version has one story arc cut out. It shouldn’t ruin your enjoyment but it’s interesting to know that the original concept was extended beyond what we Brits see.

  7. Yup, this is a wild ride. Lots going on, and plenty of long, awkward scenes. Although it was fun, I think the end (last 20 mins) kinda went a little too over-the-top and in to silly territory. Still a good film though.

    • Hi there! I must say, I did like the way the film ended. It was such a bizarre story, I don’t think it could end any other way than OTT. It just kind of summed up for me that this was all a joke and pure entertainment. I know it’s based on the true story about Sekine Gen and Hiroko Kazama, but it seems to be extremely loosely based. So I don’t think there’s much to take seriously here. It’s just a gigantic roller coaster ride of fun and mayhem!

  8. Enjoyed your brief blog on Cold Fish. Definitely a film I’m going to consider watching. I like the way you structure your posts, ending with the trailer and brief layout of who made the film and who is in it! Nice touch and too the point!

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