Noriko's Dinner Table | Chicago Reader

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In Sion Sono's Japanese feature Suicide Club (2002) a detective probes the mass deaths of 54 schoolgirls who jump in front of a train at Tokyo's Shinjuko Station; this 2005 reworking of the same material focuses on a newspaper reporter (Ken Mitsuishi of The Pillow Book) who fears his runaway daughters (Kazue Fukiishi, Yuriko Yoshitaka) may be swept up in the mass hysteria. His investigation leads him to a sinister company that rents out teenage girls to play the family members of lonely clients. This intriguing premise allows Sono to explore the link between the stress of adolescents trying to establish their individuality and the death wish that may accompany their separation from parents, but the different narrative perspectives he establishes in his five chapters fail to coalesce dramatically at the end. In Japanese with subtitles. 159 min.

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