7.4/10
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The Eel (1997)

Unagi (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama | 21 August 1998 (USA)
A businessman kills his adulterous wife and is sent to prison. After the release, he opens a barbershop and meets new people, talking almost to no one except an eel he befriended while in prison.

Director:

Shôhei Imamura
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16 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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

Country:

Japan

Language:

Japanese

Release Date:

21 August 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Eel See more »

Filming Locations:

Sawara, Chiba, Japan See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$29,879, 23 August 1998, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$413,793, 30 May 1999
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Directors Cut)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

French visa # 92472 See more »

Quotes

Jiro Nakajima: Is it bad to have such rumors about a guy on parole?
See more »

Connections

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

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User Reviews

 
How a Japanese man copes with guilt
19 June 2009 | by VeskanderraiSee all my reviews

The Eel tells a story about a Japanese man who copes with his guilt after committing a crime. (I won't go into details on the crime, that's for you to find out) The way he does this is what makes this movie a great one in my book. Not only does he turn himself in after the crime (with a great way of response by the police) he even makes a friend out of an eel in prison. Hence the name of the movie. Once outside the prison he tries to build up a barber shop and get his life back on track.

The film is carried by its character interactions. Apart from these there is nothing else in this film, so for those who don't like dialogue don't bother with this film because you'll be bored.

For the others, who like a story carried by characters, this surely is a must. The only flaw for me was the presence of a quirky UFO nut, but that's minor.

And please watch the original version with subs and not some gruesome dubbed version. I never understood the appeal of a dub.


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