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Suicide Club (aka Suicide Circle)

Director(s): Sion Sono

Theatrical Release: 1987

Cast: Ryo Ishibashi, Takashi Nomura, Masatoshi Nagase, Hideo Sako

Genre(s): Horror, Thriller, teen movie

Countries: Japan


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Running Time: 94m.

Beginning with one of the most unforgettably outrageous scenes in recent cinema, as 54 smiling high-school girls join hands and then cheerfully jump off a subway platform to be crushed by an oncoming train, The Suicide Club is a remarkably bold and bizarre film which becomes stranger and more surreal as it progresses. A wicked social critique in the form of a creepy and enigmatic detective mystery, the film examines the despair of disaffected Japanese youth and the influence of pop culture with fantastic style and perceptive wit.



After the subway suicides, police detective Kuroda (Audition’s Ryo Ishibashi) receives a tip from a mysterious girl calling herself "The Bat" who alerts the police to a website which cryptically chronicles the rash of suicides in Tokyo — before they even happen. Kuroda investigates further, while the plague of self-inflicted deaths increases throughout the city, with young bodies plummeting from the sky on a regular basis. Are the jumpers part of a cult? How can the police explain a chain of human flesh found in a bag at the subway? And what is the connection between the suicide wave and the megahit Japanese teen-girl pop combo Desert?



Poet-turned-writer/director Sion Sono doesn't always provide simple solutions, but rather — like the cinema of David Lynch or Kiyoshi Kurosawa — he lures us deeper into an enveloping web of intrigue, and just when you think the film can't possibly become any more disturbing, you're instantly proven wrong. Sono directed a half-dozen films throughout the 90's, but nothing to prepare us for the sheer brilliance of this breakthrough tour de force — a study of contemporary Japanese morality that is scary, comical, very complex, and very bloody (we're not kidding, so consider yourself warned). -Travis Crawford (TLA Video)
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