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Cold Fish Reviews

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Nicki M

Super Reviewer

June 15, 2013
Twisted Japanese gore feat with a dysfunctional family. The Japanese do this stuff so well.
Luke B

Super Reviewer

February 9, 2013
Cold Fish is a dank, dark and highly unlikable film...that I just so happened to really like. It sees a meek and feeble fish store owner, Syamoto, come into contact with a much more confident fish store owner, who gives his troublesome daughter a job. But things aren't as they seem once Syamoto is dragged through a world of sex, murder, disembowelment, business and crime. Syamoto is pushed to the very edge of his humanity by a group of depraved and sickening characters. Fortunately it's helmed by Shion Sono, one of the greatest handlers of dark material. He knows when to make us gag and when to make us laugh. We feel at ease with the material because it is so outside of our protected worlds (hopefully). The pace builds fantastically, from a slow beginning, as we are gradually pulled in to this grim reality, which is based on a true story. It looks at the role of men and women in society, and how the inability to handle emotions can spiral out of control. One of the most pleasant unpleasant watches of recent years.
familiar s

Super Reviewer

September 2, 2012
After an excellent start, the movie failed to work for me as it went ahead. It just kept on getting worse. It's indeed an engaging thriller (based on real events) till it transforms into some sort of soft porno. The story didn't require this extent of graphic scenes, but that's my opinion (which highly matters, if not hardly). Besides, the time-stamp failed to work as a smart distraction. The twists are too predictable to be shocking; in fact, the effectiveness is negative. All that said, Denden's performance is incredibly superb. He holds it up amazingly even as the script falls apart.

Won't be unfair to say that it's a terrific flick that goes terrible as it unfolds. Of course, just my opinion. Feel free to differ.
Lewis C

Super Reviewer

August 3, 2011
A chance encounter between two fish store owners pushes a meek, emasculated man to the edge and beyond, in this twisted, horrific tale.

Cold Fish is one of the most brutal, bloody, and deranged serial killer flicks I've ever seen. Seriously, this is one of those "you have to see it to believe it" movies that's almost impossible to write a review for, because, well, what do you compare it to? Cold Fish is mean-spirited, misogynistic, bleak, and quite the experience. I don't know if I "recommend" it, you could easily despise this, but I definitely want you try it out if you're brave enough.
Francisco  G.
Francisco G.

Super Reviewer

August 27, 2011
Well.... it's just like I Saw The Devil. My review stands the same for both. Can't say which one came out first, but they share the same pros and cons
John2223
John2223

Super Reviewer

July 31, 2011
"ColdFish" is a good serial killer movie based on real events. It is very graphic and violent. It is a psychological horror thriller with some dark humor at times.

My only issue with the movie and that's why I didn't give it a half star more is because of the pace though engaging it is slow at times and the running time of the movie is 144 min BUT if you are looking for a thriller and psychological horror with some depth and originallity check this movie.
April 20, 2012
I'm left with mixed emotions. I really can't decide on this one. Good story, but it didn't totally deliver.
February 9, 2012
Ok, the ending was fantastic although I found some holes here and there, but which movie doesn't have any hole? They are pretty minor compared to the whole movie, so still bearable for me. The actors and actresses act wonderfully. Sometimes I found it strangely funny... It was also not just about the gore. The gore is not the point of interest here, rather it is a part of everything. I like how he put this good guy among the bad guys and the reaction and respond to that is a little over the top, however is also understandable. I can imagine it in manga form, and that's probably why the conclusion is like that, it's in the culture. But it's ok that it is...so Japanese and manga-ish...cos it was indeed a Japanese movie :)
January 28, 2012
Skillfully made and shocking, but it's really one big identity crisis of a movie, failing to seamlessly blend several different genres. It also reaches a point where the plot completely gets away, and it just starts tripping all over itself.
August 28, 2014
Dark and disturbing in a way you just can't get with horror movies.
April 20, 2014
Japanese people don't seem to know how to make ordinary dramas (really, Asian people for that matter). Everything tends toward the melodramatic and, in a lot of cases, hyper-violent and gory. However, for most of its run time, COLD FISH remains rather restrained. Only in the final act does this movie really go over-the-top in such a way that it ruins what could have been subtle shocker. Still, the journey to the end is one worth taking. The story concerns a mild-mannered, nebbish man at odds with his family. As a consequence of his daughter's shoplifting, he is brought into contact with a man who, while admittedly weird at first, shows himself to be something else entirely. And as the movie progresses, this put-upon man is pushed to his limits. I thought everything about this movie was excellent, from the production values, the performances, the soundtrack, etc. Shion Sono has quite a pedigree and by and large, this one doesn't disappoint either. The only fault it really has is that it's about 30 minutes too long. There were a couple of detours/plot points that don't really go anywhere, and the ending was a little too protracted to be believable, considering what came before it. The average viewer might be put off by the gore, but to be honest there's not as much of it compared to other movies coming out of Japan. Definitely for fans of extreme Japanese cinema, but maybe this might not be a bad entry point for those new to it.
March 12, 2014
Tsumetai Nettaigyo (Cold Fish) (Shion Sono, 2010)

Shion Sono's movies occupy an interesting place in Japanese cinema. One certainly couldn't call them true to life, even in the magical-realist sense one must use of "true to life" when discussing the films of, say, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, but they're not fully into the sort of ridiculous fantasy world one finds with directors like Hiroki Yamaguchi. Sono certainly uses elements of absurdism in his films, but keeps them grounded enough in the real world as to make much of what he splashes across the screen terrifyingly plausible. This may never be truer than in Cold Fish, a movie that is simultaneously so plausible that it could be happening next door to you and so absurd that it couldn't be happening anywhere. I still have no idea how to reconcile those two ideas in my head.

Nobuyuki Syamoto (Twilight Samurai's Mitsuru Fukikoshi) has a troublesome, rebellious daughter, Taeko (13 Assassins' Megumi Kagurazaka). Things escalate to the point where she is caught stealing. Syamoto despairs of what to do with here, but seemingly from the blue, local aquarium owner Yukio Murata (Cure's Denden) offers to take the girl in, give her a job, teach her some responsibility and discipline. Nobuyuki and his wife Mitsuko (The Land of Hope's Hikari Kajiwara) fall all over themselves saying yes, but as Taeko's apprenticeship in the shop continues, she begins to realize that Yukio and his creepy wife Aiko (A Snake of June's Asuka Kurosawa) are much, much more than they portray themselves on the outside...

I'm not sure how much of the game to give away here; normally that wouldn't be a problem, but the film is based on true events (reported much more widely in the UK than in the US, or so Google would have me believe), so you may already know where the movie's going anyway. Its biggest problem (and one Sono, like Stephen King, seems to suffer from more frequently as he gets older and more popular) is with scope; this is a ninety-minute comedy-thriller that is expanded to two and a half hours for... well, no good reason, really. There's a great deal of filler here that could have been left on the cutting room floor. But those ninety minutes? Those are very good cinema indeed. Worth watching for existing fans of Sono's; those unfortunates who are asyet unfamiliar with his work would do better to seek out some of his earlier works (Suicide Club is quite readily available in the western market) before trying to tackle this one. ** 1/2
February 27, 2014
A relentless, oppressive, piano-wire-tight film. From the very earliest scenes, the inevitable disaster is manifest like a heavy fog even if one goes in knowing nothing about the film. It's an insane, blood-soaked tragedy of the best sort.
September 26, 2013
Watched it on netflix with a friend o mine,, he couldn't believe what he was watching,,, movie inspired by true events.
July 21, 2013
Love, sex, deceit, theft, and murder. Sion Sono brings life to all these emotions in this Japanese tale of death. This film is not for the faint of heart. A definite must see for murder mystery aficionados. Rent only if you like blood.
May 26, 2013
?????????? i generally like foreign horror films -- in fact, usually they're better than American horror films in my opinion. however, in this case that is not true... i do not share the same opinions as the critics/audience for this flick. because it's based on true events, it's interesting enough, but it just didn't captivate me as much as i was hoping for. the main character is a push over, his rival is obnoxious and annoying, and while it started out okay, it somehow turned into a soft porn film... then ol' push over turned into a psycho and beat his daughter to a pulp just before raping his wife. no, thank you. maybe i would have forgiven some of the idiosyncrasies if it were an older film, but this was made it 2011. they could have done better. i don't really know what else to say. i wouldn't recommend this to anyone. i will say one thing, however - the ending was completely unpredictable; that's what the one star is for = effed up.
April 4, 2013
not a fan of movies in which the lead character is a pushover loser, sorry
January 23, 2013
A sly, compelling film that twists dark comedy/satire with drama and gore into a delicious form that amps itself up to pure insanity.
December 28, 2012
It was, for the most part, intriguing most of the time, but failed to hold my interest in the latter half, which seemed to be made up entirely of gore. Gore can be good and all if you're into it, which I can be, but this was a bit over the top.
November 25, 2012
I say 4 stars because the casting is great. Towards the end it got a bit more revolting than I had initially expected. Not quite a pleasant viewing, but it kept me on the edge of my seat throughout.
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