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4.0 out of 5 stars A man's journey back
A man's crime of passion and rehabilitation is engagingly portrayed as he regains trust in himself and his new life when a young woman rocks his boat.
The parallel life of an eel (his confidant) with it's journey in the wild adds the quirky japanese moral undertone.

Like a zen tea ceremony where everything has to drop into place for true serenity this feel...
Published 9 months ago by Mr Steven N Eperjesi

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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Film, Mediocre DVD Release!
This is an excellently off-beat Japanese drama, following the exploits of a paroled murderer, as he learns to re-integrate himself back into society. It's one of Shoehei Immamura's greatest works, and I'm over the moon, to finally see this on UK DVD at last.

But what an absolutely diabolical release it is. This film has been given a 4:3 Letterbox release,...
Published on 12 April 2012 by PoochJD


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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Film, Mediocre DVD Release!, 12 April 2012
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This review is from: The Eel [DVD] [1997] (DVD)
This is an excellently off-beat Japanese drama, following the exploits of a paroled murderer, as he learns to re-integrate himself back into society. It's one of Shoehei Immamura's greatest works, and I'm over the moon, to finally see this on UK DVD at last.

But what an absolutely diabolical release it is. This film has been given a 4:3 Letterbox release, rather than the advertised 16:9 format, that it really should be. The back cover of the release, clearly states 16:9, and I had pre-ordered this ages ago, because I was keen to get a decent version on disc. (My old Artificial Eye VHS tape is on its last legs!)

Upon arrival, and after starting the disc, you are unfortunately rewarded with a great film, in a mediocre form: a 1.85:1 non-anamorphic box in the middle of your TV screen, that you have to manually zoom to fill up. When you do so, the subtitles and picture lose clarity and sharpness, and this immediately takes you out of the immersive world that the film wants to give you.

On top of this, there are no extras of any kind. No trailer for the film, no trailers for other Artificial Eye releases, no notes about the film, no featurettes, nothing. This is truly, the barest of bare-bones releasing! Worse-still, in the Setup Menu, you get the wonderful choice of switching the English Subtitles on or off! Thanks! What a great choice!

I'm really disappointed in Artificial Eye for releasing this great film in such a mediocre version! As such, I cannot recommend that other people buy this version, without them being made aware of the picture issue. It's not as sharp as it could and should be; the lack of extras is exceedinly disappointing, but it is criminal to release ANY film made in a Widescreen format, in a non-anamorphic manner onto DVD or Blu-Ray in this day-and-age!
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4.0 out of 5 stars A man's journey back, 19 Mar 2014
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This review is from: The Eel [DVD] [1997] (DVD)
A man's crime of passion and rehabilitation is engagingly portrayed as he regains trust in himself and his new life when a young woman rocks his boat.
The parallel life of an eel (his confidant) with it's journey in the wild adds the quirky japanese moral undertone.

Like a zen tea ceremony where everything has to drop into place for true serenity this feel good film similar to Tampopo where the struggle is to find happiness through the perfect bowl of noodles.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars, 3 Sep 2014
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This review is from: The Eel [DVD] [1997] (DVD)
Great film. Bad quality DVD release by Artificial eye.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars classic imamura, not as sharp as his earlier works,, 14 Mar 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Eel [VHS] [1998] (VHS Tape)
the subject matter is further away from his usual documentary realism in subject matter and is much more like beat takeshi's films that contrast extreme violence with great calm and understanding. Still has some fantastic flourishes both in subject matter and shooting style.
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3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Shohei Imamura at Not Quite His Best with This Fairly Beguiling Film, 3 Jun 2012
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This review is from: The Eel [DVD] [1997] (DVD)
Takuro Yamashita(Koji Yakusho)is released from prison after serving 8 yrs for killing his adulterous wife.He leaves with his only friend in the world,yep the eel.He decides to open a barber shop in a less than ideal spot but soon a clientale of sorts materialises with the help of assortment of oddballs and a timid woman Keiko Hattori(Misa Shimizu)who starts to develop feelings for Takuro unaware of his background and who has problems of her own in the form of a "possessive" boyfriend with Yakuza ties.

The Eel is certainly not up there with Imamura's best work, it is a little stilted in places and the ending is a little unsatisfactory -Vengeance Is Mine and Pigs and Battleships are my favourites and these two together with others have had far more comprehensive releases on the Masters of Cinema label but unlike the other reviewer I am not so anal retentive about aspect ratios,extras etc.He is right to a point- Artificial Eye could have done way better with this release and the picture quality is not brilliant but he gives no attention to the actual merits of the film.

If you are not familiar with Imamura's work,The Eel is a pretty good place to start.His skill with actors and ability to instill irreverence into what appears fairly sombre material is a continual source of delight to me.
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Eel [DVD] [1998] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Eel [DVD] [1998] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] by Shôhei Imamura (DVD - 2001)
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