After the group suicide of four people, journalists Yuu and Rie investigate the reasons behind an endless cycle of suicides, blamed on an infamous Suicide Manual, hidden in a tag-less DVD disk. Said manual is shot in an infomercial fashion, with examples of the best methods to kill yourself and demonstrations by real people. When investigating further, Yuu and Rie find out that in Buddhist beliefs, when a person kills himself, he or she is sent to a certain hell, from which they induce other people to commit suicide. But is this what is really happening?Written by
Jisatsu Manyuaru or The Suicide Manual is a very atmospheric and slow paced Japanese movie with some surreal elements. Even though the movie is rather cheap, the simplistic approach fits well to the topic. The camera work is cold and simple, the lighting effects are dimmed down, the dialogues are slow and emotionless, the acting is repetitive and not quite intriguing and the few special effects are mediocre and uncreative. I guess that the negative and depressive flow was intended by the makers of the movie and even though it's hard to sit through the entire feature, I must admit that the result is artistically convincing. There are also a few positive elements in the movie as the music, the more emotional moments and the slightly weird ending. The mysterious story is nothing innovating but enough to keep you guessing until the end.
This movie is about a new phenomenon of mass suicide in Japan at the time which is a real life problem of the society and this feature mixes true facts with fantastic elements and a message that is made clear from the beginning on: suicide is not a solution. Somehow, the attempt of this positive message is though failed. The movie is so dark, depressive and grey that it's definitely not beautiful to watch for disturbed hearts, minds and souls and might evoke a rather suicidal than anti-suicidal feeling. I can't say that it was a joy to watch the movie but it was definitely worth the experience and one realizes how beautiful the real life is after seeing such a movie about bullying, dying and suffering.
In the end, if you like really dark and slow psycho thriller or if you are used to weird Asian cinema, you can give this movie a fair chance. Make sure to loan this flick or watch it online before you buy it because it's not the kind of flick everybody might appreciate and watch several times. Anybody else should even avoid this movie at all costs in my humble opinion and had for a different movie about the same topic.
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