Monday, May 20, 2013

Film Review: Cold Fish (2010)

Cold Fish (Review)
Japan/2010
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

Nobuyuki Syamoto is a quite and passive owner of a tropical fish shop. His estranged daughter, Mitsuko, is caught stealing, but subsequently freed thanks to Yukio Murata, a fellow tropical fish shop owner. Murata invites the Syamoto family to his ambitious fish shop and they quickly become friends. However, Mr. Murata and his wife have sinister secrets...

Cold Fish is loosely based on a true story. After Mr. Murata saves Mitsuko from legal trouble, he allows Mitsuko to work for him at his shop and stay at a dormitory that houses six other young female employees. Syamoto and his wife agree as it would be a load off of their shoulders. Syamoto's wife, Taeko, is eventually seduced by Mr. Murata and he convinces her to bring Mr. Syamoto into a business deal. Now, Mr. Syamoto is brought into their sinister business - a serial killing spree that spans dozens of murders and disappearances. He is vividly taught the tricks of the trade, like making a body "invisible". If Syamoto runs away or tells the cops, his wife and daughter will be killed. Can Syamoto handle the serial killing business?

The story in this film is bone-chilling and very disturbing. It delves into the minds of two psychopathic serial killers, and a passive man with a broken family who is dragged into a bloody mess. Mr. Murata is a twisted, deceptive killer, hidden under the skin of a happily aggressive older man. On the other hand, Syamoto is quite and passive, he allows his rotten daughter to control his life, and he withholds his anger. The characters are important to the story, and I like this focus. You'll likely hate most of these characters due to their disturbing, manipulative actions; that's okay, though, as that's is who they are supposed to be. The violence is graphic as bodies are mutilated into chicken-nugget-sized pieces of meat; this is very effective. Ultimately, the story is very bleak up to it's very bloody, unexpected ending. I like this approach because it's a change to the formula; it's something different, without feeling like it's trying to be different.

The acting is fantastic from the entire cast. Mitsuru Fukikoshi plays Nobuyuki Syamoto as a very passive man; he displays the right emotions and he is believable - you can see the fear, the anger, and the hesitation in his eyes and movements. Denden plays Yukio Murata magnificently; his character changes often depending on the situation, and Denden captures him greatly; his character genuinely manipulative, changing his emotions from a vicious, emotionless killer to a gentle, caring man in a blink of an eye. Asuka Kurosawa plays Aiko Murata and shares a similar performance to Denden's - capturing a wide range of emotions as a manipulative beast. The music is fantastic in this film, often using a classical soundtrack. The special effects are grizzly and disturbing; there is tons of blood, body parts chopped into small, indistinguishable pieces, etc. Sion Sono's direction is fantastic, as well.

Overall, Cold Fish is an extremely disturbing serial killer film yet... it manages to entertain immensely. It's a film that will stay with you long after you finish viewing it. I highly recommend this film for fans of the genre, those sensitive to violence should stay away.

Score: 9/10
Parental Guide: Extremely vivid violence and gore, sex and nudity (including rape.)

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