The Eel (Unagi)
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Japan's maverick master Shohei Imamura delivers a gentle, droll and haunting film about an ex-con making his awkward way to redemption.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 77%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Unpredictable and captivating."
‑ Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times
"Yakusho and Ms. Shimizu deliver unerring performances in a splendid film that harvests hope from a bleak landscape."
‑ Lawrence Van Gelder, New York Times
"This excellent drama, based on a novel, reveals the beginning of a relationship between two souls who are trying to move beyond the wounds of the past."
‑ Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice
"What starts out as intriguing turns into simply baffling."
‑ Andrew Collins, Empire Magazine
"In a way, The Eel is very much like Black Rain, and nearly as great."
‑ G. Allen Johnson, San Francisco Examiner
"I was once again stuck watching a movie that's solely about repressed passion, perhaps the least cinematic thing you could ever try to film."
‑ Paul Tatara,
"This simple, sinuous fable may not be among Imamura's greatest films ... but it could hardly have been made by anyone else."
‑ J. Hoberman, Village Voice
"[An] odd, affecting little film."
‑ Michael W. Phillips, Jr., Goatdog's Movies
"Just when it seems like 'The Eel' is going to settle into a standard love-conquers-fear tale, the writers begin coloring in the characters, revealing their secrets and insecurities. The results are sometimes shocking and sometimes funny..."
‑ James Sanford, Kalamazoo Gazette
"An interesting film that works most effectively as an introspective study of how to deal with one's anger and love."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"It sounds nuts, but one of the best movies in town is about the relationship of a man with his eel."
‑ Bob Graham, San Francisco Chronicle
"Imamura composed The Eel with an artist's eye and takes his time, so don't expect a fast-paced American-style film."
‑ Judith Egerton, Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY)
"Yakusho gives a good performance in the lead role but the screenplay does not go beneath the surface of the characters."
‑ Ed Scheid, Boxoffice Magazine
"Although it starts off like a sports car barreling down the highway in high gear, the director shifts into neutral right after the opening credits end and coasts until almost all momentum is lost."
‑ Steve Rhodes, Internet Reviews
"A beautiful character study -- comedic scenes notwithstanding -- that ends on a hopeful note."
‑ Liz Braun, Jam! Movies
More reviews for The Eel (Unagi) on Rotten Tomatoes