Coming from Shion Sono, the poet-turned-filmmaker who brought us the fetishistic four-hour romance ‘Love Exposure’ and whose films feature suicide gangs and killer hair-extensions, ‘Cold Fish’ initially feels like a leap into the ordinary. But what starts out as an awkward, realist comedy about a fish salesman’s deferential friendship with a rival spirals into familiar territory: rough sex and bloody murder. As a tale of a regular guy forced into extraordinary behaviour, Sono’s key influence is ‘Straw Dogs’, and ‘Cold Fish’ reaches many of the same outdated conclusions, albeit with an ironic distance. It’s always entertaining and some performances are remarkable. But it doesn’t feel like anything new: as he raises the sex ’n’ death stakes to the point of near-unwatchability, it feels like Sono is pandering to a core audience rather than delivering on the story’s initial, unsettling promise.