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
The Bat's computer is a black Apple Macintosh PowerPC 5500/225. This model was already discontinued in 1998. See more »
When the students jump to their death on the school roof, you can clearly see crew-members throwing buckets of fake blood at the window. See more »
Even if you were to die your connection to your boyfriend would still remain. Even if you were to die your link to the world would remain. So why are you living?
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Two different R1 versions of the film exist, an R rated version and an unrated version. Not only can they be differentiated by the unrated version having a red stripe on the cover, but they have different pictures on the sides of the DVD cover (the unrated having a picture of Mitsuko). There are six additions to this version of the film.
In the subway scene in the beginning, the shot of the girl hitting the tracks is extended long enough to show her head getting run over by the train.
In the school sequence, the ear is now shown being pushed off the roof of the building.
In the suicide montage the portions showing the woman cutting off her own fingers is extended dramatically, and there are a few more lines added to the background song to accommodate this.
In the scene showing the introduction of Genesis, there are two added parts of him stepping on a cat, and then crushing a dog under his foot.
In the scene of Kurota's suicide, the gunshot has been extended long enough to show the bullet actually going through the back of his head.
Performed by Tomoki Hasegawa. See more »
hit-and-miss take on Japanese malaise
Shinjuku Station in the evening rush hour. High school girls throng the packed platform, dominating with their raucous chatter, jangling bags and provocatively short skirts. As the commuter rapid approaches, something bizarre happens - 54 girls join hands and step reverentially on the platform edge. Given the title of the film, it is no big stretch to guess what happens next.
A veteran detective (Ryo Ishibashi) and jaded younger colleague (Masatoshi Nagase) suspect a grand plot, but are thwarted in their attempts to investigate by weary seniors. Clues are supplied by The Bat, a more web-savvy mysterious informant. Can the detectives uncover the conspiracy and prevent more suicides? That is as much narrative analysis as the story can bear, as it veers off course in the second half into surrealism, MTV theatricals, and heavy-handed symbolism. "There is no suicide club" declares a juvenile voice on the phone, continually clearing its throat. Whether there is or isn't is a question never fully resolved.
Don't be taken in by reviewers who tell you that you have to be Japanese to understand this film - my Japanese students and friends are as baffled by the story as anyone else. Sion's film never quite lives up to that opening sequence in Shinjuku Station, but it compels you to go with it to the end, and provides a few thrills along the way. It is a shame it does not all quite pull together. But there are enough digs at Japan's shallow celebrity culture, crippling generation gap, obsessive consumerism, and indeed freakishly high suicide rate to make this worth watching.
In short, great visuals, shame about the script.
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