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Fish Story (Fisshu sutôrî)

If you believe that a song can change the world, you should see this movie. If you believe that a song can save the world, then you MUST see this movie.

Starring: An ensemble cast
Rating: 10/10
Directed By: Yoshihiro Nakamura
Runtime: 112 minutes


I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that this was the movie of the year for me. End of discussion.

That’s a bold statement. And I’m perfectly ready to defend it. I’m not necessarily going to defend it, but I’m ready. Should the need arise.

If you’ve been reading me for any length of time, you know by now that I typically don’t give you, the reader, a plot synopsis. And this is no exception, you’re not going to get one. No matter what follows this, no matter what you THINK I’ve told you, I am not giving you a plot synopsis.

The movie opens in Japan, in the year 2012. A “comet” is about to crash into the earth, most likely destroying life as we know it.

Where would you go in that circumstance? You know it’s your last day – nothing you can do to prevent it. Three strangers meet in what seems to be an unlikely place, a record store. Two of them are there because – what better way to face the end of the world than by listening to music. If that strikes a chord with you, then this movie just might be for you.

The owner of the store puts on a record named “Fish Story”, recorded by the forgotten Japanese punk band Gekirin in 1975 (a year before the Sex Pistols burst on to the scene), and says that this song will save the world.

Cut to some back story about the legend of this record. Cut to some back story about the band. Cut to a story about a boy who was raised to be a “champion of justice”.

Cut to one of the most well crafted scripts I have ever had the pleasure of seeing turned into a film. You will not see how these things relate until it’s time to see it. Things will not occur as you expect. And when it all falls into place, none of it will feel like a trick. Nothing will ring false.

And that’s all well and good. That is reason enough that you should see this film. But, that’s not why I love this movie. That’s not why this movie touched me so deeply, in a place I rarely share with the rest of the world.

This movie speaks to the power of music. Music has shaped my life. I am a different person today because of the music and lyrics of a handful of artists who spoke truth to me through their songs. The people I love as well, friends and family – lives changed by the power of a song, an album, a performance. Transcendence. That’s what I’m talking about. A chord, a riff, a melody, a lyric that takes you beyond your self and beyond the petty concerns of this material world we live in and puts you in communion with something bigger. It’s a rare thing. It’s a beautiful thing. It’s magical. That’s what this movie is talking about.

So we have a movie about a song that somehow saves the world. Does the song Fish Story stand up to the movie Fish Story? Oh hell yes! How good is it? I’ve listened to it on an endless loop for the last three hours. In Japanese. With no translation. It is truly awesome. It is 16 ounces of prime cut awesomeness, reminiscent of the best of the Ramones and the Stooges.

This movie touched me. It spoke to my very soul. If this movie doesn’t move you, you’re a robot and I don’t want to know you.

That’s a bit harsh. I still want to know you. But we won’t hang out very often.

Can a song save the world? Perhaps. Can a movie about a song change the world? Fish Story certainly changed my world. I hope that one day it will change your world as well. Look for it. Ask for it. Demand it. This is a film that deserves to be seen by a larger audience. And if you’re here, on this site, and you’ve read this far, this is a film that you, yes YOU, need to see.


Fish Story

[...] already written a review of Fish Story.  I have no intention of doing another one.  And yet, I find myself in the mood to talk about [...]

Posted June 15, 2010 04:06 am
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