When Syamoto's teenage daughter is caught stealing, a generous middle-aged man helps resolve the situation. The man and his wife offer to have Syamoto's troublesome daughter work at their ... See full summary »
The erotic novelist Taeko is writing a morbid story of a family destroyed by incest, murder and abuse. Her assistant, Yuji, sets on a mission to uncover the reality of this story, but the reality might be too much to bear.
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A grisly murder occurs in Maruyama-cho, Shibuya, Tokyo - a love hotel district - a woman was found dead in a derelict apartment. Kazuko (Miki Mizuno) is a police officer called to ... See full summary »
54 high school girls throw themselves in front of a subway train. This appears to be only the beginning of a string of suicides around the country. Does the new all-girl group Desert have anything to do with it? Detective Kuroda tries to find the answer, which isn't as simple as one could hope. Written by
Shion Sono's "Suicide Club" is not standard fare. In many ways, I agree with the fact that this film is not for everyone. It is in reality a love it or hate it venture. However, I would suggest that anyone who holds love for the medium of film give it a try. Sitting down to watch this film, I had no idea of the journey upon which I was about to embark.
From the opening mass suicide and the subsequent dark hall patrol of a Tokyo night guard, "Suicide Club" starts with the notion that the film is to be a gore-fest and another dimly lit horror movie. But shortly into the film, such is disproved. A rash of mass suicide plagues Tokyo detectives when they are confronted with the reality that these are not your average end-my-suffering suicides. Are the suicides really suicide? Are they in fact murders? And how do a bizarre website and a preteen girl band fit in? These questions all come into the forefront as writer/director Sono explores some nonfiction issues as well.
"Suicide Club" is not only a social commentary, exploring fads and Japan's disaffected youth, but also a prodding statement on existence itself. What if all the ways in which we have been taught to define ourselves has been wrong? How do we connect with others while remaining connected to ourselves? Furthermore, as an American audience, we have much to gain from Sono's work. "Suicide Club" shows us what would happen if the Japanese had helmed "The Rocky Horror Picture Show"; "Suicide Club" brings the sort of respect to Japanese cinema that "Battle Royale" and "Audition" did. But mostly, it exposes us to a harsh reality -- the limitations of American cinema. The fiercely original and highly intense "Suicide Club" could never be made stateside.
In the end, "Suicide Club" does not leave you with a clear answer to any of the questions that it poses. The film does indeed jump to subplots and twists and turns, leaving some chaos and confusion in its wake. But such is the nature of the topics Sono confronts. "Suicide Club" will not give you a 94 minute break from reality; rather, it will use 94 minutes to prompt you to redefine reality. (Four Stars)
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