Following hot on the trail of Love Exposure is Sion Sono's newest film, Cold Fish. This odd horror film is quite a departure from his previous works because unlike most directors, Sion Sono embodies his own work with diligence and depravity. Cold Fish isn't very aesthetically similar to Love Exposure as it is more focused and budgeted on a single strand of narrative as opposed to the labyrinthine construct of Sono's absurd romance epic. Undoubtedly situated with tension, one glance at the poster should inflict mental side-effects akin to a bad omen. I could probably sit here and gush at the mere mention of Sion Sono and how spoiled and content I feel after viewing his films one after another but I will fight the affliction at its source while attempting to keep my composure. It would also become apparent that Sion Sono has gotten a handle on his cinematic deviance, even going as far as to be comic in nature. Now I pray you'll excuse the pun but Cold Fish, at its very core, profits with a morbid take on a "fish out of water" tale and like several of his films, is based on a true story. This story, in particular, being the case of Gen Sekine, a 59 year old dog breeder who conspired and poisoned four people.
Throughout the entirety of Cold Fish, I was teased and satisfied with Sono's wonderful handling of the oft-unappreciated eccentricity of the Japanese. This ranges from extreme bouts of enthusiasm and the more commonly recognized over-emphasis of their words. This soon trickles dry, though, when Cold Fish switches the safety off half-way and turns into a dark and brooding horror film. I was unsure of how Cold Fish could end. No, how it would end. Immediately upon starting the film, you can never be sure of how it will close and upon seeing it and coming forward for another round, you simply cannot believe the curve-ball it is so prepared to hurl at you. I will refrain from mentioning a thing concerning the finale of Cold Fish other than this; it will terrify you, move you, shock you, and appall you. The violence featured in Cold Fish is something I had taken for granted. I did not realize I could still be shocked by something as novelty as "blood and guts" but alas, I found myself mortified, staring blankly at the screen. In retrospect, what I experienced was very similar to my first initiation to, say, the Guinea Pig series - namely, Flowers of Flesh and Blood. It was simply a spark that no words could recreate for a third-party member. To summarize all these conflicting emotions I can only muster a gasp, exhausted and drained in part of Sono's rape of character - Cold Fish is a flawless depiction of a soul dying. Sion Sono also happens to be a musical genius. He may not be so hands-on as to create his own melodies but as far as juxtaposing images to a classical score, there is no competition. Now as I ruminate on this ghastly thriller, I humbly request that you wait patiently and look forward to the R2 release from the prodigious Third Window Films and if you haven't, acquire a copy of Love Exposure through them.