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‘The Fisherman’ Spins a Morbidly Humorous Tale (Short Film Review)

Directed by: Alejandro Suarez Lozano

Cast: Andrew Ng, Ng Kam Cheun, Patrick Yip

Written and directed by Alejandro Suarez Lozano, The Fisherman tells a familiar but entertaining and humorous story of a Cthulhu-like creature swimming beneath the dark seas. Lozano’s short film focuses on Wong (Andrew Ng), an aging and impoverished squid fisherman struggling to make a meager living among the harbors of Hong Kong. When the one-armed Wong fails to make yet another payment on his rental boat, he knows he must score a huge catch in order to make enough money to pay the owner. At his wit’s end, he sets out for the night, hoping his luck will turn and the sea will provide him with the bounty he needs.

That night, the world seems entirely against the troubled protagonist. A storm brews overhead, loud music from a party boat passing by scares away all the fish, and Wong seems close to ending his misery and taking his own life. But suddenly the bell attached to his fishing rod rings, and Wong manages to reel in an abnormal-looking creature unlike anything he has ever seen. With visions of both wealth, popularity, and respect now that he has captured this rare and exotic prize, he tosses the wiggling catch into his ice bucket and continues to work. From there, Wong’s fishing excursion becomes a life-or-death confrontation with a sea monster that seems a descendant from the raging skies above…

Presented in Cantonese with English subtitles, Lozano’s The Fisherman is a confident short film that offers a handful of shivers and dark humor. The picture is buoyed by an energetic performance from Ng, who imbues the fisherman with a fiery determination and a will to persevere (“Don’t mess with Wong,” the protagonist consistently tells us). The creature and other visual effects, while not necessarily groundbreaking, are expertly done and give the film a chilling menace. Most impressive is Pablo Burmann’s cinematography, which juxtaposes the calming waters of the harbor with the looming threat of a creature beyond our wildest imagination. Interestingly, while the film focuses entirely on Wong and his battle with the monster, the final sequence suggests that there is more significance to the presence of the sea creature than we know. This apocalyptic tone adds an intriguing layer to the short film and turns it into something more meaningful and thought-provoking than a basic creature feature.

Online reports indicate that The Fisherman has received 35 international awards and nearly 200 festival selections around the world–and this data comes as little surprise for such a sharp, engaging picture. Fortunately, Lozano’s impressive short film is available for all to watch at the link below. At just under 20 minutes long, it will be sure to reel you in with its strong performances, eerie setting, and underwater terror. Check out the film in the link below!

Rating: 5/5

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