Monday, June 30, 2014

Noriko's Dinner Table

This is not the best made film. It feels like a pulp film, inexpensively put together with questionable acting skills. The cinematography wasn’t excellent and even when the shots were carefully thought out, no magic displayed itself. But it was one of those rare films that, after it was finished, made me sit and think about the themes of the film. No matter what the technical problems of the film, the plot, themes and development weren’t among them.

This film acts as a companion to Suicide Club, which I have never seen, but the events of that film are referred to in this prequel. Can it really be called a prequel, since it shows event both before and after the previously made film?

Anyway, we’ve got Noriko, who is unhappy at home. She feels that she could find happiness on the internet and then she thinks she can find happiness living in Tokyo with her internet companions. But her friend, Ueno Station 54, AKA Kumiko, isn’t interested in helping Noriko find happiness, but to change society.

After Noriko runs away, her sister Yuka, puzzles out her own unhappiness and eventually pursues Noriko to Tokyo, only to find that she is no longer Noriko, but Mitsuko, an actress paid to act like missing family members to those who could pay for the service.

A heavy curtain of mystery weighs over the film, especially over the first two thirds. What is the real purpose of this group? Is there a Suicide Club or not? If not, why the mass suicides? What is Kumiko’s real purpose? There are answers to these questions, but not without our effort to piece them together along with Tetsuzo, N and Y’s father.

This is a more than worthy movie, with equal parts pulp and social commentary.