"Fish Story" centres around a rock band from 1975 who decide to break up having had no success, they record one last song before the band splits up. Decades later that song will have a profound effect on peoples lives, eventually becoming the saviour of the world.
Cast & Credits
It actually operates on a conceit that's fairly common these days; the non-linear yet interconnected vignettes that coalesce into an overarching plot. Oftentimes, in these types of films, the actual story is less interesting than the way it's assembled. Take for instance, Christopher Nolan's Memento (2000), which was fascinating for its accurate and chilling portrayal of the nature of retrograde amnesia but would have been merely a middling crime thriller if assembled in chronological order. However, other films use this plot technique in order to symbolically resonate with the themes presented in the story, such as Marc Webb's charming (if a bit precious) (500) Days of Summer (2009). Fish Story definitely falls into the latter category and (at least for me personally) does even a little bit more.
I love the Butterfly Effect. Not the crap film starring Ashton Kutcher but the actual phenomenon. It's something that, when portrayed right, can be smart and gripping. Fish Story uses the medium of urban legend to give some physical form to the theory and to trace the evolution of a myth and its implications for the fate of humanity. It sounds a bit ludicrous and melodramatic, but the film is so self-assured that you really can't doubt its intentions, ones that become more and more believable as the film progresses. And, if all of that sounds lacking in proper gravitas (which it sort of does, on paper), the film also has a recurring theme of resilient underdogs who emerge triumphant or at least at peace at the end of the day. As such, even if the main story doesn't float your boat, there will be definitely something to appreciate in the smaller arcs.
Lest that all might seem a bit stuffy, the film actually has a good sense of humor. One that's a little self-deprecating and rife with situational irony. It might not be a laugh out loud comedy, but it will definitely elicit a wry chuckle or too here and there at the expense of some of the more hapless characters. Which, come to think of it, is essential in a film like this. It's not hard to become pretentious when using this particular film-making conceit, but Fish Story so easily circumvents this pitfall because it knows how to laugh at itself.
Is it the best film ever? No. It's probably not even the best film in its niche genre, but it's definitely safe to say that it stands in the top ranking for being the most fun and the most exhilarating. And also for having a great song. If you're into punk or j-rock, Fish Story (the song) is a satisfying reason enough to give this film a spin.
Tl;dr? Watch it for some intelligent fun, an interesting storytelling format, and a kickass song.
It's about a song saving the world, about random events that can lead on to something great. Watching this movie is like zooming in with a photo lens,coming to the focus seeing everything around it. And it has a song, Fish Story. All I can say that it's the only Japanese song I listen to, makes you shout "punk is not dead!"
So, if you are waiting for something to blow your mind, this is it!
Ending with the opening verse of fish story,
"The story of my solitude,
If my solitude were a fish,
It would be so enormous, so militant,
A whale would get out of it."