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Japanese Horror Movie by Sion Sono

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It was good but had so much potential

  • Apr 18, 2007
Well, only in Japan it seems can a director comfortably make star-studded features such as this. This rather remarkable career trajectory belongs to Sion Sono, whose Suicide Club stars high-profile actors Masatoshi Nagase (Stereo Future, Electric Dragon 80,000 V) and Ryo Ishibashi (Audition, Brother). Knowing this, it is no surprise that watching Suicide Club is a special experience indeed. What to think of an opening sequence in which 54 uniformed schoolgirls commit simultaneous suicide by jumping hand-in-hand in front of a rush hour train at Shinjuku station, covering shocked commuters in geysers of blood that washes in red rivers over the concrete platform? Welcome to tonight's main attraction, don't bother buying popcorn.

"Suicide Club" starts out as a rampant satire on fads and consumerism, with suicides portrayed as just another trend and the blood and scattered body parts as its by-products. The addition of the straight-faced police investigation sits rather awkwardly with the exaggerated tone of what's come before, providing only the first of many distractions and unfortunate decisions on the part of the director. For all its incidental impressive moments, "Suicide Club" remains disappointingly unstructured. Bits and pieces are scattered throughout the film (often literally, given Sono's love for lingering on gory details), but they never add up to a coherent whole. The story is peppered with a more than generous helping of red herrings, but these soon start to obscure the already muddled central intrigue (particular when they to come out of nowhere like the Rocky Horror-esque interlude halfway through).

This is a big shame, because some the underlying themes in Sono's film are interesting: the middle-aged police officers who know where to find the clues, but who are unable to get to them because they are hidden inside the bubble gum pop music and internet chat rooms which their generation doesn't understand; the representation of suicide as a superficial fad - there are seeds aplenty for a potentially great and truly confrontational satire, but the closest thing to being confrontational Suicide Club comes is when the buckets of schoolgirl blood flow in the already notorious opening scene, covering everyone and everything, the screen included.

With its combination of outrageous shocks and earnest intentions, "Suicide Club" could have followed in the footsteps of Audition and Battle Royale as a film to appeal to critics and cult fans alike. But with Sion Sono's confused handling of the material, it's unlikely to reprise the overseas success of either of these films. Some people may get a kick out of its portrayal of blood and gore, but even then its appeal is probably limited to shocking your friends with those opening five minutes.

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November 12, 2010
Hi, Jen!!
More SUICIDE CLUB a.k.a. "Suicide C... reviews
review by . September 01, 2009
posted in ASIANatomy
Dvd cover
      SUICIDE CLUB (aka. Suicide Circle, Jijatsu Saakuru, 2001) is a bleak and dark satire that effectively masquerades as a horror film. Directed by Sion Sono (Strange Circus), this film is a shocking commentary on the effect of pop culture on a country's young population (and in general). Sion Sono is at his top form here, it has been said that the director decided to make this film after the true-to-life suicide of a close friend. With its shocking and disturbing imagery, …
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Jen-Jay AKA:JJI ()
Ranked #30
Married into the military for over a decade and it does has itpros andcons. The lifestyle is great and Ido enjoy it. I'm able to do things and see things that I thought I wouldn't dream of. My kids loves … more
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About this movie


Director: Sion Sono
MPAA Rating: Unrated
DVD Release Date: November 2003
Runtime: 94 minutes
Studio: TLA Releasing
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