Saturday, November 6, 1999


Dark ‘Trout’ lacks hook

By Burl Burlingame


ALAS, some vacations simply don't go well, despite best intentions. In "Rainbow Trout," two married couples and an unattached sister of one of the wives drive up into the mountains of Korea to visit an old college chum. He had given up acting and life in general and spends his days maintaining a fish farm.

Bullet "Rainbow Trout," 12:30 p.m. Nov. 8 at Hawaii Theatre Center, 6:15 p.m. Nov. 11 at Signature Dole Cannery.

Occasional gunshots from nearby hunters startle some of the trout to death, and they float to the surface. The troutkeeper simply scoops them up in the morning and makes sashimi. In fact, he exists on sashimi and whiskey.

By the the end of the movie, there are a lot of floating trout.

Turns out that the troutkeeper is in love with one of the wives, a mutual passion they've managed to keep under wraps. But under the influence of alcohol and all that sashimi, repressed feelings come tumbling out. The sister gets into the act, and there also are those hunters to contend with, who stay up all night partying and drinking the warm blood of recently killed animals, and there's this semi-feral neighbor boy who's never seen a woman go to the bathroom before, at least not in the woods, and he's fascinated.

Bad mix. Things go wrongly.

Part "Big Chill," part "Straw Dogs" and part "Deliverance," "Trout" is directed by Chong-won Park with a distinctly cool style. Park seems to be saying "civilized" and "barbaric" behavior are two sides of the same coin, and people can slide from one to the other without much prodding.

There isn't much point to "Rainbow Trout" beyond that observation, and 99 percent of the movies made for cable TV operate from the same ethical premise. It seems peculiarly American, particularly when the characters start shooting at one another.

Well-made, with a consistent and coherent style, but absolutely average. You won't feel like you're wasting your time watching "Rainbow Trout." You also won't find it particularly memorable.

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