Written by: Michael Den Boer on June 27th, 2011
Theatrical Release Date: Japan, 2010
Director: Shion Sono
Writers: Shion Sono, Yoshiki Takahashi
Cast: Makoto Ashikawa, Denden, Mitsuru Fukikoshi, Megumi Kagurazaka, Hikari Kajiwara, Lorena Kotô, Asuka Kurosawa, Masaki Miura, Jyonmyon Pe, Suwaru Ryû, Masahiko Sakata, Tarô Suwa, Tetsu Watanabe
BluRay released: June 27th, 2011
Approximate running time: 144 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive
Rating: 18 (UK)
Sound: DTS-HD 5.1 Japanese
BluRay Release: Third Window Films
Region Coding: Region B
Retail Price: £19.99
Synopsis:A chance encounter brings together two rival businessmen. And what starts off as a friendly partnership, quickly turns deadly when one of them reveal their more psychotic side. Feeling trapped by this new partnership, it becomes apparent that the only way to out is to eliminate anyone who stand’s in their way.
Shion Sono’s (Noriko’s Dinner Table, Strange Circus) latest foray into the darker sides of humanity is titled Cold Fish. And this time around he uses real life events as the jumping point for the story at hand. The plot revolves around two tropical fish shop owners, a mild manner family man named Nobuyuki Syamoto and a charismatic manipulative man named Yukio Murata. Other key characters include Syamoto’s submissive wife Taeko, his rebellious daughter Mitsuko and Murata’s promiscuous wife Aiko. Besides the evolving relationship between Syamoto and Murata, which anchor’s this film. Another key relationship is that of the one between Mitsuko and her step mother Taeko.
From a narrative standpoint everything is laid out in a straight forward linear way. Also the film’s does a excellent job establishing who everyone is and what their motivations are. And while the majority of the characters which populate this film change very little by the end of this film. They all appear to be content with who they are, while the film’s protagonist Syamoto’s transformation is so vast that by the time the film’s conclusion arrives, he is nearly unrecognizable.
Expanding upon what occurs in this film anymore, would take away from its numerous twists and turns. At just under 2 1/2 hours this film covers a lot ground and then some. And like Shion Sono’s previous films there is plenty of subtext that can be gleaned from the story at hand. Also the use of subversive humor is present throughout.
From a production stand point there is not a single area in which this film is lacking, visually Shion Sono does not waste a moment, the film’s pacing is deliberate enough that things never get bogged down and the performances from the entire cast are all pitch perfect. With film’s standout performance coming from Mitsuru Fukikoshi (Love Exposure). He gives an utterly convincingly portrayal of a character in an inescapable downward spiral. Ultimately Cold Fish is a divisive thriller that will slowly draw you into its web of depravity.
Cold Fish comes on a 25 GB single layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive anamorphic widescreen. Colors look vibrant, flesh tones look accurate, details look crisp, black and contrast levels look consistently good throughout. There are no problems with compression or DNR is kept in check. It should be noted that grain structure varies throughout and it is more pronounced in some scenes.
This release comes with one audio option, a DTS-HD 5.1 mix in Japanese and removable English subtitles have been included with this release. The audio is in great shape as dialog comes through clearly, everything sounds balanced and robust when it needs too. Also the more ambient aspects of the soundtrack are well represented.
Extras for this release are all included on a second disc (a dual layer DVD) and the extras include a trailer for the film (2 minutes 6 seconds – anamorphic widescreen, in Japanese with English subtitles), a segment titled ‘Cold Fish Original Japanese Poster – It’s Creations, Influences and Film Posters in General’ (8 minutes 46 seconds – anamorphic widescreen, in English), a interview with author of ‘Tokyo Vice’ Jake Adelstein (39 minutes 24 seconds – anamorphic widescreen, in English) who discusses the real life events that inspired the film and a interview with screenwriter Yoshiki Takahashi (50 minutes 28 seconds – anamorphic widescreen, in English). The interview with Yoshiki Takahashi is a well rounded discussion about the script. The interview with Jake Adelstein is an insightful glimpse into the real events which inspired this film. The most surprising extra is a the segment titled ‘Cold Fish Original Japanese Poster – It’s Creations, Influences and Film Posters in General’ and this segment is also anchored by Yoshiki Takahashi, who discusses various movie posters that he has helped create. The remaining extras included with this release are trailers for titles currently or soon to be released on DVD from Third Window Films. All of the content on the second disc is region 2 and PAL. Overall Cold Fish gets a solid release from Third Window Films.
Note: Third Window Films are also releasing Cold Fish on DVD.