Ryo Ishibashi as Detective Kuroda
Akaji Maro as Detective Murata
Saya Hagiwara as Mitsuko
By The Zombie Master, Lee Roberts
More and more I am finding myself being drawn to Asian horror. Having discovered such great directors, such as Ji-woon Kim (A Tale of Two Sisters), Kinji Fukasaku (Battle Royale), Takashi Miike (Audition), and Hideo Nakata (Ringu), I have been trying to pay attention to who is being praised and who is not. Through this journey, I have found a director by the name of Sion Sono that deserves to be added to the list of greats.
Suicide Club (literal translation is actually Suicide Circle) starts in a commuter train station where people are patiently waiting for the next train. Everything seems to be going like clockwork when a group of about 50 teen school girls all grab hands, step to the edge and jump in front of the moving train at the same time. This effectively kills all of them and sprays the other commuters with blood and body pieces. The opening credits begin to role as you take in what just happened and realize Suicide Club is far from typical.
While investigating the mass suicide, some in the police department do not think it is anything other than a suicide pact or club that does not denote any criminal activity.
During a break on the roof top at a local school, a group of teenagers are discussing the suicides. Soon there are about 20 or so students that step onto the ledge at jump off. Again there is a lot of blood and guts splattered around.
When strategically placed clues begin to show up in Suicide Club, two of the police detectives want the investigation to be made criminal but the remaining detectives still see no reason. So, Detective Kuroda (Ryo Ishibashi) and Detective Murata (Akaji Maro) take it upon themselves to do some outside investigating.
Mitsuko (Saya Hagiwara), a young student, is walking to her boyfriends place when he suddenly falls on top of her from his roof. He is critically injured, later dying, and she is determined to spend her time trying to understand why he did it.
Filmed at a time when the suicide rate in Japan had reached almost epidemic levels, Suicide Club is Sion Sono’s meditation on suicide from his own perspective. He began writing the script after a close friend of his killed himself with absolutely no explanation as to why. Sono gives just enough information to allow the viewer to contemplate the subject matter; no more and no less.
Anyone who has seen Audition will immediately recognize Ryo Ishibashi as Detective Kuroda. Again, Ryo does an excellent job with character realism. You witness his frustration and sorrow and begin to feel for him. Akaji Maro, seen in Kill Bill Vol.1, also is great at creating a believable character. Unbelievably, this role in Suicide Club was Saga Hagiwara’s first acting part, and she has only done one other role since. She is outstanding.
I highly recommend Suicide Club, for the story, acting, directing and gore value. Keep in mind, though, that you will come away from Suicide Club as confused as a goat on Astroturf if you do not put your thinking cap on first.