Directed by Sion Sono
Reviewed by Jon Minners
There are not too many movies out there that truly know how to grab one’s attention right from the very beginning. Unoriginal plots; tired ideas, clichéd dialogue; so many movies today do not dare to be different. Suicide Club is certainly not one of them. A cult classic created in 2002, Suicide Club takes a very disturbed look at disaffected youth, the growing influence of technology as well as that of television and the strange obsession the youth of the world has with suicide.
The film begins innocently enough with 54 young Japanese school girls holding hands together on a subway platform as a cutesy song plays in the background. It doesn’t seem out of the ordinary until the girls count up to three before jumping in front of an oncoming train; blood splattering everywhere, leading the viewer to jump out of his or her chair in alluring astonishment as the tale is instantly weaved before our eyes.
Was it just some isolated event? Did a group of school girls develop some sort of pact to die together; all 54 of them? Inspector Kuroda must investigate this death, as well as what appears to be a string of copycat suicides. What makes these deaths so intriguing is the appearance of a sports bag containing chains of stitched-together human flesh that seems to have come from the victims before they kill themselves. Add a mysterious woman known as The Bat who informs the inspector of a website that registers deaths before they occur and the strange calls from a young child that informs the police that there is no suicide club, and you have a surreal mystery to enjoy.
Viewers are taken through a number of possibilities, including the introduction of Genesis, a glam-rock cult leader that seems to be murdering innocents under the guise of the Suicide Club all the while providing entertainment for the viewer in some sort of even more twisted Rocky Horror Picture Show-inspired song and dance. Are his murders and mind altering manipulation behind the deaths? Or are the deaths a result of some sort of subliminal message that comes from some children’s show everyone loves involving a young-girl band called Dessert who sing catchy, cutesy songs with thinly veiled messages directed at the viewers?
This is one twisted movie experience. Do not expect intricate special effects to dominate the screen like every other movie out there. Blood splattering all over a train station like a river and the sickening sounds of thuds resulting in the twisted bodies of students who jump off a school building together are enough to get the message across that this is one very out of the ordinary film worth viewing if not for the mystery alone. There is also enough black humor to keep you entertained despite such a disturbing plot. This is one film that is unapologetic for its subject matter. Sion Sono created a movie designed to make you think and he masters the concept very well in one of the most unconventional movies I have ever seen.
Some films become too obvious. Some films try to be so out there that you become confused and aggravated by the plot. However, some films, in very rare circumstances, leave you with the knowledge that the answers are all there if you look for them. Suicide Club leaves you entertained, yet confused, but willing to find the truth no matter how many times you may have to watch. It’s ironic. Movies like Suicide Club are a rare find; a diamond in the rough, a pleasure to review and something that gives us hope about the future of cinema while the other movies are the films that make you want to leap to your death. Go figure.