(aka SUICIDE CIRCLE, original title; JISATSU CIRCLE)
Directed & Written by Sion Sono
Music by Hasegawa Tomoki
Cinematography by Kazuto Sato
Cast: Masatoshi Nagase, Ryo Ishibashi, Akasji Maro, Tamao Sato, Saya Hagiwara, Yoko Kamon, Mai Housyou & Rolly
2002/94 mins/Color/2.0 Dolby Surround
1.85:1/Japanese/Japan/NTSC Region 1
Review of the TLA Releasing DVD
May 26th... while a nice atmospheric music is playing in the background, 54 schoolgirls all lined up hand in hand jump together in front of a Tokyo train at a Shinjuku station. Body are dismembered, heads are crushed, bloody is splattered everywhere leaving a red pool of blood all over the station's floor. A white sport bag is left at the scene... dot are appearing on an Internet web site... 54 dots!
From there we are introduced to Japan's latest teen girl pop sensation, Dessert... performing their hit "Mail Me" (trust me, you'll have that catchy tune in your head for days!). Later that night, two nurses disapear... a white sport bag is left at the scene of the mysterious event. The police are thinking that there might be somekind of connection between these two events (Duh!). Kuroda (Ryo Ishibashi who played the father looking for a wife in Takashi Miike's masterpiece, AUDITION), Shibu (Nagase) and Murata are trying to find any connection between the 54 school girls who came from 18 different schools. They receive a phone call from a computer geek... a rather nice looking I might add, known as 'The Bat'. She informs the police of the unusual web site with dots appearing everytime there is a suicide... even more strange is the fact that the dots appears before the suicide even occurs!
Soon more suicides are happening everywhere... kids are joining this new "trend" of killing themselves! What's the reason behind these group suicides? Is there anyone or something behind all this? Is it because of the Internet? Is it because of the media?
I've already said enough... now its time for you to enjoy one of the best of Japan's recent new horror film which isn't RING-esque in any sense which is a good point. If you don't want anything to be spoiled for your viewing pleasure... or displeasure, please don't read the rest of my review.
What looks like just a normal horror film is in fact one of the strongest in recent years. Much like the awesome BATTLE ROYALE, SC is filled with messages and meaning. I believe that this film deals with the envisioned collapse of the Japanese society in which the adults felt threatened by the youth. I believe that it is a message that Japanese adults don't take care, prepare or know how to guide their childrens... thus losing their connection with them... and especially with themselves. The kids feel that the adults have failed them and they want to make them realize that... by the way of suicide. Even though the whole pop culture was created by adults, the cult responsible for the massive suicides are living in a world that the adults will never understand... the Internet, the BBS, the BubbleGum culture. They are using the pop girl band to get their subliminal messages across to the other kids. The film is not a plea for the adults to kill themselves, but a demand to love themselves... cause they lost their connection with the real world, with themselves. SUICIDE CLUB is a scary look at the state of the comtemporary Japanese society. It is also a satire on fads, consumerism and media manipulation.
The kids of the "cult" used the band to get their "subliminal" message through them... the band, Dessert weren't involved with it directly... they're a tool. They were created by the adults to "please" and "satisfy" the youth... another point used by the kids since the adults don't have a clue what to do for their childrens so they are feeding them with television, useless crap and superficial feelings. It was an easy way for the "cult" kids to get on with what they had to do... especially since the girl band was so HUGE with the childrens and teens. There is much more to this film then anyone could image, the good thing about it is that we must all have our own interpretation of it.
Not that it it would change my view of the film but it is interesting to note that the director, Sion Sono, has been working for years in the filmic gay porn industry.
TLA Releasing have finally released this film on DVD in North America. The film is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1. It is not anamorphic, the image is a little too soft and grainy in the darker scenes, otherwise its a nice presentation. The 2.0 Dolby Surround audio track is in Japanese and features removable easy to read white English subtitles. While the audio isn't anything spectacular, it still does a nice job and give us the proper atmosphere to enjoy the film. The main menu features some limited animation and background music, there a small and rather useless image gallery consisting of stills from the film. We also get the trailer for the film along with trailers for other TLA Releasing DVDs; BETWEEN YOUR LEGS, CHILDREN OF HANNIBAL and THE BATHERS. A useless inlay card features some publicity about other TLA Releasing films. The film is separated in 15 chapters and comes in a keep case.
SUICIDE CLUB should have been giving more attention on DVD. It is one film that will be talked about and discussed for years to come. I also own a boot of the Japanese DVD which features the same transfer as the TLA Releasing edition but contains the trailer and an interview with the director and actors.
This Film Features:
Review by Kim Dubuisson. All Right Reserved. 2004. ©
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