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Noriko's Dinner Table [DVD] [2005] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

3.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Language: Japanese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Dubbed: English
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001570H5K
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 213,413 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
A superb absolute devastating critique of modernist Japan (Capitalism), wielding its sharp cutting blade on the fallacies of consumerism based ideal lives, founded upon negating the individual leading to brutal isolation. Within the film are the sacrifices of family solitude, kids sold for a career, adults trapped in social autism, each detailed in a lack of human communication. Instead fantasies are weaved as recompense. This film is as good as it gets. A psychological masterpiece.

It scythes into the shopping mall fantasies, as people are paraded as slabs of meat. Depictions of the real and surreal penetrate beneath the flimsy surface of modern family life. Kids in cyberspace and parents locked into personal fantasy.

Whilst these worlds are populated loneliness crowds in as each drifts away. The father locked into the meaninglessness of reporting rubbish to keep his family together eventually has to buy his relationships back at the supreme price. Illusion after illusion is shattered as Japan is portrayed as an onion where nothing is truly real, as it is just another layer.

Takes me back to my Japanese sojourn where I felt the invisible atmosphere but never found the core. Here it is articulated as the silent codes of "nothingness" kept in locker 54, which opens up to another world, the mirage of the other, built upon "fakery." All existing within a modern capitalist lifestyle, like no other book, film or song.

Take a trip into this film, because the psychological roller coaster ride will take you to places all too familiar, but with a completely different outlook. Acted in a low key style but with such brute tremendous force I began to think if this could ever have be dreamed of, let alone built, within the West.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Noriko is a restless 17 year old schoolgirl desperate to be independent and move to tokyo, after meeting several other girls online under the psudonym mitsuko she runs away from home to Tokyo and joins up with a strange group that will roleplay at being family members for lonley and unhappy people for money and may also be responsible for a spate of suicides in the city, Noriko's sister Yuka soon runs away to join her and when his wife commits suicide their father goes to tokyo to search for them. The story is told from multiple points of view over several chapters and constantly shifts back and forth in time with the characters stream of conciousness that can make the film initially confusing at times, and with the long running time (over 2 1/2 hrs) may alienate some viewers, but those with patience will be rewarded with a highly origional and thought provoking film that can be disturbing, surreal and even funny at times.
For those of you wondering, YES this is the sequel to suicide club Suicide Club [DVD] [2002] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (a film well worth watching if you havent seen it) but having seen suicide club is not a prerequisite for watching this film so don't worry if you missed that one. Noriko's dinner table while following the same events, (the train suicide opening is referenced several times)Noriko is a radically different film in many ways and is probably best viewed as a companion piece to the origional rather than a sequel and explores themes not fully explored in the origional. The film is so different that perhaps some suicde club fans may not be guarenteed to enjoy this one but personally I love it and i'm glad I bought it! The film comes with a making of, directors interview and introduction and has excellent picture and sound quality and is certainly worth giving a chance.
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In recent years Japanese auteur Sion Sono has made quite a name for himself among cinema buffs. His films tend to gravitate around the theme of self-destructive alienation. In that regard Norikio's Dinner Table is perhaps the quintessential Sono film, incorporating and emphasising this theme, as well as telling it's tale in a typically bloody and cryptic fashion.

Before I get into the plot synopsis I should probably address the issue of how this film relates to Sono's earlier Suicide Club. Is this movie a sequel, or a prequel, or what? Well, some of the events in this film do take place before those of Suicide Club, but there are just as many that take place afterwards. In this sense, the film might be thought of as a companion piece that expands the world of its predecessor in either direction. However, it should also be noted that this film has only a very loose relation to Suicide Club, so if the viewer is expecting this film to answer all (or even any) of those niggling questions that the previous film left hanging... then they'll be disappointed. If anything Noriko's Dinner Table raises even more questions than before. One gets the impression that the director had an original idea for a film in mind, but he found himself pressured into capitalising on the success of his earlier hit, and as a result he wound up half-heartedly re-jiggng his idea to connect the two. The result is a curious chimera that only bares a very tangential relation to its precursor. It's a very contrived connection, at that. One would have to look long and hard to find a more obvious case of ret-conning. So, as a companion piece to Suicide Club the film is frankly quite lacklustre.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x94156270) out of 5 stars 22 reviews
18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x94191d50) out of 5 stars 3 ½ + Stars: The Sequel to "Suicide Club" is too Horrific to be a mere Melodrama and too Emotional to be Horror.. 3 Jun. 2008
By Woopak - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
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]
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x94192354) out of 5 stars Family for Rent 16 April 2008
By Captain Insanity - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Poignant,
Thought provoking,
Genius.
Any one of these words can be used to describe this unforgettable piece of film.
The sequel to "Suicide Club", while not even remotely as graphic,
actually manages to outdo it's predecessor in every other regard;
plot, character development, tension, atmosphere, settings, and all around humanity.
This movie does skip around quite a bit more though,
but not so much that it becomes distracting.
And unlike the original, the conclusion of this flick won't leave you scratching your head.
You'll definitely be discussing it, but not out of confusion.
To say the least, Sion Sono is quickly becoming the best horror director to emerge from Japan in recent years.

In this sequel of sorts, we get a closer view into the mysterious Suicide Circle.
We learn more of its convoluted philosophies,
and meet a few more members, specifically Ueno Station 54.
The film follows her history, as well as the members of one particular family,
A tragic-hero of a father, and his 2 runaway daughters,
who inadvertently stumble upon a unique division of the Suicide Club.
The mass suicides of the last film,
(62 high school girls simultaneously jumping in front of a subway car, etc.)
left a lot of families with holes in their lives.
This division of the club temporarily fills those holes, but for a fee.
Essentially you can rent 1 or multiple family members for a limited time,
and do to them anything you would regularly do to your normal family.
Naturally this leads to some pretty bizarre scenes.

With each passing film, I get closer and closer to believing that Sion Sono is the premier Japanese horror director to watch. (My apologies to any Miike fans)
Yeah I said it. (Better than Miike!!! .....well except for "Imprint" which is a personal favorite)
Suicide Club, Strange Circus, and now this!!!
I can't wait for his next film "Exte: Hair Extensions" to release.
As silly as it sounds I know it's going to be that good.
Takashi Miike, eat your heart out!!!

MORAL OF THE STORY:
For the right price, water is just as thick as blood.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x94192f0c) out of 5 stars A visual Audio Book 13 Nov. 2009
By Jason - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
To be honest I bought this movie for one reason, the cover had a girl standing next to a wall covered in blood. Simple as that. If you are like me and also buying this movie because of the cover, I'd recommended rethinking your choice. This cover is nothing more then a fantastic exploitation cover.

This film is amazing, it is not a horror movie at all, and it's not even that bloody in the strictest sense. There are only two scenes with blood and if you've seen any Japanese movie you'll know that mean a lot of it. But the film isn't about the body count as in Battle Royale: Director's Cut (Collector's Edition) or Ichi the Killer (Unrated Edition) it's about the disconnection of family. And what people will do to have that connection again.

Without giving away one of the oddest parts of the film I'll only say. The core of the film is about the family. And what makes the family unit. Is it the blood connection or emotional bonds between the family members?

This being so, this film is long 2 and half hours long but complete captivating. It feels like an audio book with visuals at some points, with relentless dialogs and images always flashing and happening. I find myself so absorbed in the scenes and characters and not waiting for the next action scene to come. Which never really comes anyways, so, luckily I wasn't waiting for it or I'd be one disappointed person.

Either way this film isn't for everyone. I'm really not sure who it's for, but if you like surrealism, David Lynch, Tetsuo: The Iron Man, and Suicide Club (Suicide Circle) than there's a good chance you'll be interested in this film. If you do not like the listed above, then I'd say don't watch it. It will feel like a waste of time.

For me I find this movie to be a deep study of the family unit. And what makes my family connect.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9419266c) out of 5 stars What a lovely dinner table.. 23 Nov. 2010
By A. Szarka - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is the sequel to suicide club:
A girl named Noriko runs away from her home and goes to Tokyo to meet a girl she was chatting with
online. She gets involved in the cult group thats involved with a very unique form of prositution called "family renting" and mass suicides. Noriko's sister also gets sucked into the group and their father trys to find them. It's a very interesting film about family and finding who you are. It's gets better each time you watch it, though it's long so i always enjoy the first 3 chapters of the film. When it gets to the father in the last chapter, it drage but it's still good. Also, this is not a horror film, it's a drama.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x941924ec) out of 5 stars Stunning sequel to an amazing movie 13 Feb. 2008
By book-clubber - Published on Amazon.com
This film is possibly better than its predecessor, Suicide Circle, although it is hard to say.

The story starts out when Noriko, a nerdy young girl, leaves home to live with some friends she met on the internet. Her new friends are mysterious and dangerous. They run a service where lonely people can "rent" a family for a short amount of time. Noriko joins the business,playing increasingly dangerous parts for strange and bizarre people. The events in this movie took place before, during, and after the events in Suicide Club, and show some possibilities of what caused the suicides.

This movie explorres the same theories as Suicide Club, those of being connected to oneself and of losing your own identity. It is, what I saw as a "darker" version of Suicide Club, exploring how people get disconnected rather than how they can connect.

overall an amazing movie.
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