MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Down 6,604 this week

The Eel (1997)
"Unagi" (original title)

Not Rated  |   |  Drama  |  21 August 1998 (USA)
7.4
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.4/10 from 4,085 users  
Reviews: 22 user | 40 critic

White-collar worker Yamashita finds out that his wife has a lover visiting her when he's away, suddenly returns home and kills her. After eight years in prison, he returns to live in a ... See full summary »

Director:

0Check in
0Share...

IMDb Picks: May

Visit our IMDb Picks section to see our recommendations of movies and TV shows coming out in May, sponsored by COVERGIRL.

Visit the IMDb Picks section

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 23 titles
created 17 Mar 2011
 
a list of 37 titles
created 03 Nov 2012
 
a list of 31 titles
created 25 Mar 2014
 
list image
a list of 45 titles
created 6 months ago
 
a list of 45 titles
created 3 weeks ago
 

Related Items

Search for "The Eel" on Amazon.com

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: The Eel (1997)

The Eel (1997) on IMDb 7.4/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Eel.

User Polls

14 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Chronological exploits of Iwao Enokizu, a murderous thief on the lam.

Director: Shôhei Imamura
Stars: Ken Ogata, Rentarô Mikuni, Chôchô Miyako
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Life of a pornographer who tries to stay under the radar of the mob. He has a mistress, a step-son, a step-daughter (whom he's attracted to) and a wife who believes her first husband was reincarnated as a restless carp.

Director: Shôhei Imamura
Stars: Shôichi Ozawa, Sumiko Sakamoto, Ganjirô Nakamura
Why Not? (1981)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Near the turbulent end of the Edo era, a man returning to Japan after exile in America searches for his wife and becomes swept up in the current of revolution in this incisive period drama from the great Shohei Imamura.

Director: Shôhei Imamura
Stars: Shigeru Izumiya, Kaori Momoi, Masao Kusakari
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Life story of a woman born in poverty trying to succeed. Through her many schemes, she faces her ups and downs in a cyclical nature, fueled mostly by self-interest.

Director: Shôhei Imamura
Stars: Emiko Aizawa, Setsuko Amamiya, Tomio Aoki
Drama | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A young hoodlum decides to work for a criminal organization which is tearing itself apart.

Director: Shôhei Imamura
Stars: Hiroyuki Nagato, Jitsuko Yoshimura, Masao Mishima
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

An Iranian man drives his truck in search of someone who will quietly bury him under a cherry tree after he commits suicide.

Director: Abbas Kiarostami
Stars: Homayoun Ershadi, Abdolrahman Bagheri, Afshin Khorshid Bakhtiari
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A housewife living under her tyrannical husband has her life turned upside down.

Director: Shôhei Imamura
Stars: Masumi Harukawa, Kô Nishimura, Shigeru Tsuyuguchi
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Dossignan is a zealous rural priest. The dean Menou-Segrais tries to keep him reasonable. But Dossignan will be tempted by Satan, then will try to save the soul of Mouchette, a young girl who killed one of her lovers.

Director: Maurice Pialat
Stars: Gérard Depardieu, Sandrine Bonnaire, Maurice Pialat
Biography | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

The story of Ingmar Bergman's parents. In 1909, poor, idealistic theology student Henrik Bergman falls in love with Anna Åkerbloom, the intelligent, educated daughter of a rich family in ... See full summary »

Director: Bille August
Stars: Samuel Fröler, Pernilla August, Max von Sydow
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

In Kabuki style, the film tells the story of a remote mountain village where the scarcity of food leads to a voluntary but socially-enforced policy in which relatives carry 70-year-old ... See full summary »

Director: Keisuke Kinoshita
Stars: Kinuyo Tanaka, Teiji Takahashi, Yûko Mochizuki
Certificate: GP Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

An engineer from Tokyo arrives on a drought-ridden tropical island to drill a well to power a nearby sugar mill. He meets the inbred Futori family, hated by the locals for breaking religious customs.

Director: Shôhei Imamura
Stars: Rentarô Mikuni, Chôichirô Kawarasaki, Kazuo Kitamura
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Being a faithful 'company man', Yoshikawa moves steadily ahead within the Toho corporation. But Kaji, his old friend, makes his way through the dark side of the social world, working for a ... See full summary »

Director: Shôhei Imamura
Stars: Hiroyuki Nagato, Kayo Matsuo, Takeshi Okimura
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Takuro Yamashita
...
Keiko Hattori
Mitsuko Baishô ...
Misako Nakajima
Akira Emoto ...
Tamotsu Takasaki
Fujio Tokita ...
Jiro Nakajima
Shô Aikawa ...
Yuji Nozawa
Ken Kobayashi ...
Masaki Saito
Sabu Kawahara ...
Seitaro Misato
Etsuko Ichihara ...
Fumie Hattori
Tomorowo Taguchi ...
Eiji Dojima
Chiho Terada ...
Emiko Yamashita
Shinshô Nakamaru
Sei Hiraizumi
Seiji Kurasaki
Toshirô Ishidô
Edit

Storyline

White-collar worker Yamashita finds out that his wife has a lover visiting her when he's away, suddenly returns home and kills her. After eight years in prison, he returns to live in a small village, opens a barber shop (he was trained as a barber in prison) and talks almost to no-one except for the eel he "befriended" in prison. One day he finds the unconscious body of Keiko, who attempted suicide and reminds him of his wife. She starts to work at his shop, but he doesn't let her become close to him. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

21 August 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Eel  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

DEM 12,386 (Germany) (6 February 1998)

Gross:

$413,793 (USA) (28 May 1999)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

French visa # 92472 See more »

Connections

Featured in Especial Cannes: 50 Anos de Festival (1997) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Flawed, but haunting
26 December 2002 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Takuro Yamashita, played very effectively by Koji Yakusho, gets an anonymous letter telling him that his young, pretty wife is entertaining another man while he is out fishing at night, this after she lovingly prepares and packs his supper. He goes fishing but returns home early in time to catch her in medias res. In a cold rage he knifes her to death. He bicycles to the police station and turns himself in. Eight years later he gets out of prison. This is where our story begins.

Yamashita, now embittered toward others, especially women, is on parole. He sets up a barber shop in a small town. He keeps a pet eel because he feels that the eel "listens" to him when he talks. One day he discovers a woman (Keiko Hattari, played by the beautiful Misa Shimizu) in some nearby bushes who has taken an overdose in a suicide attempt. He brings the police to her and she is saved. She becomes his helper at the barber shop and is so efficient that the barber shop prospers. She falls in love with him but because of his shame and bitterness, he cannot return her love.

This is a film about human sexuality. It is not pretty. The eel itself (a wet "snake") symbolizes sexuality. When this sexuality is confined it is under control. When it is let loose it is dark and deep and mysterious. Director Shohei Imamura's technique is plodding at times, and striking at others. His women are aggressive sexually even though they may look like little girls. His men can be brutal. Their emotions, confined by society as the eel is confined by its tank, sometimes burst out violently.

For many viewers the pace of this film will be too slow, and for others the sexuality depicted will offend. For myself and others who are accustomed to seeing the faces of the players in long close ups on TV and in Western movies, Imamura's medium shots and disinclination to linger on the countenances of his actors will disappoint. Yakusho's face suggests the very depth and mystery that Imamura is aiming at, yet I don't think the camera lingers there enough. Also disappointing is how little we really see of Misa Shimizu's expressions. Chiho Terada, who plays the murdered wife, is also very pretty and completely convincing, but we see little of her. Her expression just before dying, a combination of shamelessness and resignation, funereal acceptance even, was unforgettable.

This is very much worth seeing, but expect to be annoyed by the how slowly it unravels and by the central character's stubborn refusal to forgive both himself and his late wife and his inability to embrace the life that is now his.

(Note: Over 500 of my movie reviews are now available in my book "Cut to the Chaise Lounge or I Can't Believe I Swallowed the Remote!" Get it at Amazon!)


7 of 18 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Yamashita's psyche... showa48
filming location gamera99
Discuss The Eel (1997) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?