In the year 2012 a comet approaches earth, threatening to end civilization when it impacts. On the streets of Japan, a single music store remains open, its proprietor insisting to his customers that the world is not coming to an end. He plays a forgotten song recorded by an obscure band 37 years ago, and insists that somehow, this song will save the world. A series of short stories spans the years from the recording of the song in 1975 to the modern day, and shows how--in roundabout fashion--the man in the music store is absolutely right.
In short: Fish Story will take you on a wild, improbable ride that will leave you smiling once the credits begin. It is a film that rewards multiple viewings as it will leave you thinking and desiring to watch it again almost immediately. Great acting and an incredibly well put together set of events leads to a movie that definitely should be seen. My favorite film of 2009 so far.
If you haven't seen Fish Story yet, you may want to stop reading this review after this paragraph. There aren't spoilers in my review, but it is one of those movies that is best viewed with no preconceived ideas about the plot. Watch the film and enjoy the twists and turns that the story takes. It is a ride that most will undoubtedly enjoy.
Fish Story is about a punk band named Gekirin that recorded a single called "Fish Story" in 1975, a year before the Sex Pistols popularized punk music. Despite knowing that their music won't sell, Gekirin and their supportive producer decide to record this song knowing that one day it will impact the life of at least one person. The film jumps around different time periods ranging from 1975 to 2012, where a meteor is on a collision course for Earth. Going through the movie, the viewer is shown different stories without knowing what is going on or how they factor in to the main narrative.
Each part of the film is captivating, despite the fact that we don't really know what is going on in the film as a whole. Every new story reveals a piece to the puzzle and when they all come together at the end you'll feel like jumping up, running outside, and telling everyone that they NEED to watch Fish Story. Then you'll want to watch it again. This movie has one of the most satisfying endings that I have ever experienced.
I love the cast in this film. Acting was solid, but no award-winning performances. I particularly enjoyed Omori Nao, who played the producer that discovered Gekirin as well as a music shop owner whose store is open despite the pending destruction of Earth. I also thought Kora Kengo, playing Gekirin's singer, and Moriyama Mirai, playing a guy trained since birth to be a "champion of justice" (his action sequences were really cool) stood out. Based on a novel by Isaka Kotaro and adapted by Hayashi Tamio, Fish Story has a great script. Also, the cinematography is good (though certainly not groundbreaking) as well as the directing. Music is great, especially the song "Fish Story" which was written specially for the film.
I can't really name many faults with this film other than it was a little bit draggy in some spots. Also, some may not enjoy the girl's (Tabe Mikako) overenthusiastic acting but I found that it fit her character. The film was just under two hours, but I felt that length was not a problem.
Fish Story jumps around to different genre's (thriller, martial arts action, comedy, music documentary, etc) which I think keeps the movie incredibly engaging, constantly changing up the pace. During my second viewing, I couldn't help but think that I would enjoy watching a film that just took any one of the multiple stories presented and made it feature-length. All of them are that interesting. Having each individual story in the span of a single film, though, is what helps make Fish Story a magical experience. From beginning to end, you will be engaged and entertained. I advise everyone to see Fish Story.
--John Kincaid @ jkfilmjapan.wordpress.com/ I am not the type of person to like Armageddon movies, but I truly enjoyed Fish Story. Though this movie is about how the end of the world is near, there are so many twists and unexpected turns of events, that I was fully immersed in the film for the two hours it played. And like other reviewers, by the end of it, a huge smile has been smeared on my face by the time the credits started rolling.
In this unique Japanese apocalyptic story, the world is going to end by meteor strike. But somehow, a punk song called Fish Story, with a mysterious a minute of silence in it, might just offer the salvation the whole world has despaired from expecting. To find out whether it will, and how, four seemingly separate tales need to be told. But don't worry, writer and director Yoshihiro Nakamura does a great job: the four tales are all entertaining on their own, and when I realized how they are connected, I was not disappointed at all. The unfolding events, though weird and unusual, made complete sense, and none of the plot twists seemed contrived in the least.
There aren't many downsides to this movie, and the only thing I would complain about is some scenes with slower pacing. But I enjoyed it so much that I still remember it fondly, many months later, as an extremely well-done, unique, and entertaining film. a5c7b9f00b
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