- I have a seafood allergy. No, not shellfish, a full on seafood allergy that prevents me from eating anything that can swim. It made watching this movie a tad depressing as I know that my desire to eat all the tantalizing morsels appearing on screen will have to go quite sadly unfulfilled.
- This movie is BEAUTIFULLY filmed, oh my god. There really is a fine art to both food styling and food photography and Jiro and the cinematographer each did their part in making sure all of Jiro’s food made you want to jump up and lick the screen. I really am a sucker for short depth of field, apparently.
- All of the personalities in the film were quite delightful and oddball and their awkward quirkiness made for some pretty funny moments in the film. There are a couple of scenes where we go to the fish market with Yoshikazu and meet with Jiro’s suppliers, all of whom are experts in supplying only one type of sea food. So, yes, Jiro’s got a tuna guy and a shrimp guy, etc. The tuna guy literally goes down to some sort of musical tuna auction (seriously, this is how they seem to sell it to suppliers), touches a bunch of fish, picks the one he thinks is best and then that’s the only one he buys. He literally buys a single tuna because only one can be the best so what’s the point of buying more than one? His rice guy, who seemed so awkward as to appear drunk, may have topped them all in his refusal to sell his rice to the Hyatt in Tokyo because even if he did, they wouldn’t know how to cook it like Jiro anyway so what would be the point? These guys have near reverence for the fact that he finds their ingredients good enough to cook with.
- They addressed the various animal welfare aspects of over-fishing, and Jiro’s team seemed to be environmentalist enough to want fish to be able to grow to their full adult size… mostly because they’re better to eat at that stage. Oh, and because it helps replenish the fish populations. That too.
That said, there were some awkward moments of “Let’s start cutting up this fish while it’s still alive” that I didn’t necessarily enjoy. If you’re going to eat an animal, fine, but maybe at least put it out of its misery first? There was a moment with a valiant octopus who kept trying to escape from the plastic bag his vendor was attempting to shove him into; he put up a good fight but ultimately lost.
- Speaking of which: I never knew tuna were so HUGE. Wow.
- I liked how much everyone involved with the making of this sushi — from Jiro himself to his sons, his apprentices, and even his suppliers — just want to learn more and keep improving what they’re doing. In a world full of mediocrity and people who don’t try very hard, it’s nice to hear people (lots of people!) talk about their constant driving desire to do better.
- At the very start, the Japanese food critic who provides a lot of the critical context for what Jiro has achieved talks about how Jiro’s food is minimalistic but has a huge depth of flavour and does way more than a lot of more complex but inferior sushi he’s had. As such, I thought it was appropriate that the subtitles were set in Helvetica.
- I thought it was nice that after spending a lot of the movie setting up the impossible standards under which poor Yoshikazu has to aspire once his father retires/dies that they revealed it was actually him who made the sushi that resulted in Jiro’s restaurant being awarded three stars in the Michelin guide. I was worried for a moment the movie would end on a depressing note where his life is nothing but stress at not being able to live up to his father, so it was nice for it to be revealed that he has talent that at least equals his father even if those who know of Jiro don’t know this.
Categories: 4 Stars