Fish Story (2009)
Directed By: Yoshihiro Nakamura
Written By: Tamio Hayashi
Gaku Hamada, Atsushi Itô, Yoshihiro Nagata (Note: IMDB doesn't list who plays who in the film, so I was unable to ascertain who the leads were. Sure I could have referred to the film, but you and I both know I'm too lazy to do that for a post.)
Based on the novel by Kotaro Isaka, Fish Story tells the tale of an obscure punk rock group in the 70's whose song would play a part in the end of the world 37 years later. Told in different parts over the course of 4 decades, it weaves a very original and satisfying story.
Why You Should Watch It:
It's different, it's engrossing, and won't weigh you down like a lot of foreign films. The movie is largely packaged as a comedy, though I wouldn't call it that. It's a really great story, with some cliche characters (in an okay way. Vignettes often shortcut arcs by using familiar idiosyncrasies), punctuated by some genuinely funny moments.
Why You Probably Haven't Seen It:
I don't have a lot of a Japanese readers that I know of and it didn't exactly get a major release here. It was a nice surprise when it turned up on Netflix.
Scene To Savor:
I'm going with the hijacking. Everything works perfectly in that scene, especially the humor.
The plot of the film may sound a little trippy, but it's a lot more down to earth than you'd think... Okay, it's still pretty trippy, but in all the right ways. The soundtrack does consist largely of the one song played throughout the film, so be prepared to have it hammering in your head by the time the movie ends. I would have liked to see the film fleshed out a little more in some places to allow for some characters to have just a little more time to develop. Because it's cut down, a couple of the story lines play out more as MacGuffins, merely there to further the other stories, rather than to contribute their own parts. But it's not a huge deal for this type of narrative.
Overall on a scale of Missed Gems: 4 out of 5