The Eel (Unagi)


The Eel (Unagi) (1998)


Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.


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Movie Info

Japan's maverick master Shohei Imamura delivers a gentle, droll and haunting film about an ex-con making his awkward way to redemption.


Koji Yakusho
as Takuro Yamashita
Misa Shimizu
as Keiko Hattori
Fujio Tokita
as Jiro Nakajima
Mitsuko Baisho
as Misako Nakaima
Akira Emoto
as Tamotsu Takasaki
Fujio Tsuneta
as Jiro Nakajima
Sabu Kawara
as Seitaro Misato
Sho Aikawa
as Yuji Nozawa
Ken Kobayashi
as Masaki Saito
Sabu Kawahara
as Seitaro Misato
Etsuko Ichihara
as Fumie Hattori
Tomoro Taguchi
as Eiji Dojima
Sanshô Shinsui
as Citizen's Hospital Doctor
Shoichi Ozawa
as Maternity Hospital Doctor
Makoto Satô
as Jukichi Takada
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Critic Reviews for The Eel (Unagi)

All Critics (26) | Top Critics (7)

Unpredictable and captivating.

Feb 14, 2001 | Full Review…

Yakusho and Ms. Shimizu deliver unerring performances in a splendid film that harvests hope from a bleak landscape.

Jan 1, 2000 | Full Review…

I was once again stuck watching a movie that's solely about repressed passion, perhaps the least cinematic thing you could ever try to film.

Jan 1, 2000 | Full Review…
Top Critic

It sounds nuts, but one of the best movies in town is about the relationship of a man with his eel.

Jan 1, 2000 | Full Review…

This simple, sinuous fable may not be among Imamura's greatest films ... but it could hardly have been made by anyone else.

Jan 1, 2000

Imamura composed The Eel with an artist's eye and takes his time, so don't expect a fast-paced American-style film.

Jul 2, 2004 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Eel (Unagi)


In the most perverse circumstances, a story of affection and redemption in The Eel. Reflective. Optimistic. Oddly charming.

Jan Marc Macababayao
Jan Marc Macababayao

Super Reviewer


Rage, remorse, regeneration, redemption, romance and a lot of frankly baffling whimsy. I felt this movie was just all over the map and did not satisfy. "An erotic spellbinder." ??????, um... no.

Bob Stinson
Bob Stinson

Super Reviewer


[font=Century Gothic]In "The Eel", Takuro Yamashita(Koji Yakusho) is an office worker who has been receiving anonymous letters about his wife's infidelity while he goes on nighttime fishing trips. In order to investigate these claims, he cuts one such trip short, and does indeed catch her having sex with another man. He snaps and brutally murders her. Then, he calmly bikes down to the police station and turns himself in. Eight years later, he is released from prison on parole with his pet eel. He relocates to a sleepy seaside village under the watchful eye of his parole officer and with some inheritance money, he opens a barber shop, hoping to keep out of trouble. But then, he stumbles across an attempted suicide...[/font] [font=Century Gothic][/font] [font=Century Gothic]"The Eel" is an offbeat movie that would at first seem to be about redemption but is actually about how none of us are truly alone, either literally or figuratively. In other words, there is no way to avoid becoming involved in other people's lives.[/font]

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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