Oct 15, 2008

Suicide Club

Welcome to the club. Suicide Club, that is. Without a doubt, this is the most influential piece of cinema I've seen. Not because of the quality or the violence, but the motivation this film gave me to seek out more foreign horror films that defied conventions with ridiculous violence that once was stomach churning. This was a notorious title for me back 2 years ago. It's a shame that that popularity of this film never flourished more although Sion Sono has experienced a fruitful career. Suicide Club is the rental replacement for Faces of Death. It's about time a successor be known.

The infamous opening scene still remains as one of the most shocking sequences of violence depicted on film. A smiling cluster of Japanese schoolgirls casually gossip along a subway rail. Grinning, they all join hands euphorically and leap in front of a train only to soak the entire station in saintly Asian blood. For its time, Suicide had lept from being a sacred subject to hyper-violent satire thanks to Japan's most shocking auteur of taboos; Sion Sono. Keep in mind this is the man behind Strange Circus, which might be the sole nihilistic brainfuck to ever remember.

Literal translation.

Suicide Club is a film that most people have seen. Word of mouth travels a very extensive way. While being a personal favorite of mine, the faults wont get past the inner cynic in me. The film rotates around a contemporary and thorough exaggerated view of the effects of pop-culture on the masses. The "twist" in the film is one which is impossible to predict. In nature, one would laugh heartily at the mere idea of Sono's revelation, but the truth is actually fierce which resulted in a sequel entitled Noriko's Dinner Table (I haven't seen it yet).

The highlights of the film range from the narcissistic suicidals to the extreme depicted violence to the character actors on screen. Other than these traits and some unmentionables, the rest is a filler detective plot line which seems really out of place. It's always nice to see Audition's Ryo Ishibashi get more work in extreme Japanese cinema though. Although not the first, Suicide Club is one of the earlier films to have a horror/satire plot revolving around the Internet ala the website that predicts the suicides. Mechanics such as this can be seen in Danger After Dark's Feed and Yo-Yo Girl Cop, which was recently reviewed.

Suicide Club might be the most daring Festival film to come out of Japan. With enough blatant simulated blood and gore to satisfy the deepest blood craving, Suicide Club offers a horrific tale of hysteria with a perfect mix of intellectualism. After watching this film, ask yourself if you have a sickness of the soul. It is also a great reflective piece to round out an afternoon and serves as a great treat to give to "virgin" cinema-goers. I don't know what's worse, the fact that Suicide Club has an important message or the fact that it's based off of truthful unexplained suicides in the land of the highest suicide rate; Japan.



Keith said...

I love this film. I had heard so much stuff about it, so I finally had to see it. Of course it has its flaws, but it helped lead me into a new world of cinema.

Soiled Sinema said...

Same here. From Suicide Club, I branched into Versus, Tetsuo, Oldboy. From there I went into Jodorowsky and such.

What a stepping stool.