Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Fish Story: Best Movies You Probably Haven't Seen

It's been awhile since I wrote one of these and I've been holding onto a good one. This time around I'll be reviewing an overlooked Japanese movie from a few years back. Overlooked stateside that is. I can't really speak to the popularity of films in Japan, what with my, you know, not living there.

Now Showing:

Fish Story (2009)

Netflix: Streaming

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.

The Gist:
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


  1. Streaming on NetFlix? Might check it out then.

  2. I like the idea of a song having something to do with the end of the world. It is an original idea.

  3. I'm all about foreign films and this one sounds pretty cool. I will have to go check it out. Thanks for the suggestion. Also, thanks for the nice bday wishes and for the kind things you said about Sophie today. I really appreciate your kindness. hugs, Stacy H-W

  4. That sounds awesome, I love the sound of the plot.

  5. Pretty interesting! Thanks for the review!


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