Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Noriko's Dinner Table|
Actors: Ken Mitsuishi, Shiro Namiki, Tsugumi, Kazue Fukiishi, Yuriko Yoshitaka
Director: Sion Sono
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Brimming with a hip sensibility and a touch of ultra-violence, this provocative Japanese film by young director Sion Sono stunned audiences during its initial theatrical run. — Teenager Noriko Shimabara escapes her tiny pro... more »
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3 ½ + Stars: The Sequel to "Suicide Club" is too Horrific to
Woopak | Where Dark Asian Knights Dwell | 06/03/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Sion Sono is a poetic director; his works often mystify, puzzle and bewilder his audiences. One thing no one can deny about this director is that his films are engaging with their uninhibited and visceral themes whether you like them or not. NORIKO'S DINNER TABLE is the long awaited sequel to Suicide Club (aka. Suicide Circle). I know, most folks are probably dreading a sequel to the cult hit, but Sion Sono delivers, well, not exactly in the way you may expect. "Noriko's Dinner Table" is more a companion film to the first film than a solid sequel. Too visceral to be a melodrama, and at the same time too mild to be horror; just what is Sono's intentions with this film. Maybe to deepen its underlying enigma?
A 17-yr. old teenager named Noriko Shimabara (Kazue Fikiishi) leaves her tiny provincial town and moves to Tokyo to find an internet cult group called Haikyo.com There she meets up with the site's webmaster; a young pretty woman named Kumiko (Tsugumi) and loses herself in the unusual ways this cult group practices, which includes a very unique approach to prostitution and mass suicide. As Noriko grows closer to her new friends, her sister Yuka (Yuriko Yoshitaka) decides to follow her suit. Now, both sisters must decide if abandoning their old life is worth dying for...
Now, to cut to the chase; is "Noriko's Dinner Table" a better film than "Suicide Club"? Yes and no. Yes, The film is structured in a way as a melodrama would, slowly uncovering its mystery. The film is slow-paced and quite frankly the film really takes its time. Its sense of purpose may equally alienate some viewers as with its predecessor. The events of the film does bring the idea of an organization on a very personal level and it puzzles more than it entertains. However, it is also inferior on some levels; the film looks very constrained by a limited budget and looks a bit too simple when compared to Sono's other film "Strange Circus" when it comes to cinematography. The characters are indeed intriguing but it is very difficult to form an attachment to them. They are decently developed but for some reason, their puzzling purpose just didn't sell the idea to me, except maybe for the father. His goal is pretty straight-forward as they come, he wants to find his daughters. (it also does open a plot hole unfortunately)
The film has a very different storyline than "Suicide Club". It's timeline is parallel but at the same time it is also takes place after. The fragmented style of the proceedings are interesting with a narration of different points of view from its lead characters; Noriko, Yuka, Noriko, and Tetsuzo. These narratives attempt to explain to a degree just what is occurring but also serves to annoy at times that the film loses a lot of its effect and visual "punch". Seasoned watchers will not have any problems following its sequences and dialogue but those unadulterated to this style will no doubt be lost and (perhaps) be a little bored. In some ways this film may be a little more frustrating than Suicide Club, it doesn't really offer any explanations or closure but instead reinforces the mystery behind Sion Sono's first film and opens more questions.
The film is somewhat similar to Sono's "Strange Circus". Both films deal with the idea of identity and individualism. Not everything or everyone is as they first seem to be. This film shows us the personal idea of the cult, from Noriko's goal of discovering her own identity and the denial of some truths. The film gives us the idea that all people are actors in a play, that more or less people either succeed or fail in their roles in life. Another theme it explores is the failure of reaching out to your love ones. "Lions and Sheeps" are expressed as the philosophy behind the cycle of life.
Now don't get the wrong idea that this film focuses more on philosophy and melodrama. The film does represent a lot of shocking ideas and quite disturbing to the core. Members of the group would fulfill their roles at the cost of their very lives. Noriko was present as an observer when the 54 schoolgirls jumped off the railway as part of her "training". Kumiko is the most intriguing character since she remains so cold but at the same time, so capable of expressing emotion in a very subtle way. It was a very interesting sight when she allowed an "actress" get stabbed to death for the satisfaction of one reliving a lost opportunity.
In its own way, "Noriko's Dinner Table" has all the potential to be a better film than "Suicide Circle". It's more personal approach to certain themes about family and its lasting effect on youngsters, the influence of technology and failure of communication. Hidden from all its motifs and darkness is a very effective portrayal of intense human drama. You might say that this sequel (of sorts) is the heart and soul of Suicide Circle. It is a harder film to comprehend than its predecessor, and despite its faults, it will encourage the viewer to take another look-see.
Don't expect the film to have the same style as "Suicide Club" or you will be very disappointed. The film just enlarges the context of the first film; it widens its mythology and reinforces its mystery.
RECOMMENDED! Timidly...[3 ½ + Stars]
Pretty Damn Good
T. M. Kramp | 01/14/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a real "Mind F---er" movie. But even in the deepest portions of the "WTF?!" moments, it never ceases to be entertaining. Unless you come to this movie expecting this movie to flirt with normality at any time, you shouldn't walk away disappointed."
Colin | 05/15/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Watching this film, I found that it was not what I expected. It's not like Suicide Club; there is much less gore and much more storyline, and the movie wraps itself up without leaving too many important questions unanswered, but its purpose is NOT to explain those left behind by Suicide Club. It simply takes place before, during, and after the events of Suicide Club.
It's a beautifully profound, thought-provoking movie with many important things to say about society and one's relationships with other humans and our families. The film is long but memorable and one-of-a-kind. I've never seen a movie that I could compare to this.
Although it's long, I wholeheartedly suggest that you see it."