|S E A R C H D V D B e a v e r|
(Sion Sono, 2015)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Asmik Ace Entertainment
Region: 'B'-locked (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 25,844,872,459 bytes
Feature Size: 25,066,991,616 bytes
Video Bitrate: 34.99 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: November 20th, 2017
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
LPCM Audio Japanese 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
Description:Japanese auteur Sion Sono follows up the deliriously entertaining Tokyo Tribe, with Tag, a surreal horror that combines his arthouse aesthetics with equal doses of pro-feminist action fantasy, and the kind of ultra-gory exploitation filmmaking that would make Takashi Miike and Yoshihiro Nishimura proud.
Mitsuko (Reina Triendl) is the sole survivor of a bizarre paranormal incident that kills all of her classmates. Running for her life, Mitsuko seemingly slips into an alternate reality, but death and chaos seems to follow her everywhere. As Mitsuko finds herself in increasingly surreal and violent situations, the true horror behind her nightmare is revealed.
With a jaw-dropping opening sequence reminiscent of Sono's earlier cult masterpiece, Suicide Club, Tag is a mind-bending slice of action-horror, Alice in Wonderland meets Tokyo Gore Police, and Eureka Entertainment is proud to present the film on Blu-ray and DVD.
Nothing seems off-limits, and the over-the-top absurdity initially seems to have no pattern other than the complete lack of men on-screen, and just as soon as that seems firmly established for the audience to start to wonder if there's something to it, it's time to change things up again. Though Sono sets the bar for creative mayhem high with that opening sequence (the festival gave it a special award), he's far from done, as all three actresses are going to spend a good chunk of their time on screen running. The stuff they're running from changes up even more often than they do, from a completely disembodied hypothetical threat a demon groom to... Well, there are certain things a horror-ish movie can't lead out. These scenes seem impossible to link up even though Sono has them run right into each other; it's a contradiction that says amazing things about what a filmmaker of Sono's innovation and energy can do.
If intended as satire, Tag is hamstrung by Sono's own well developed tendencies towards fetishizing women. This feels more along the lines of an apologetic than a criticism, with everything leading up to the revelation at the end of Tag aimed at the pleasure centers of creepy dudes. It has loads of stylish violence, all of it against women. There are a ludicrous number of up-skirt shots in the first act and a church full of underwear laden beauties in the second, all of it culminating in references to gaming in the third act, which, in the past year and a half alone, is an industry that has had its image tarnished by a few meatheads, or, has been exposed for its overall poor attitude towards women.
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Tag seems a bit muted on Blu-ray from Eureka. Colors are more dull than I would have thought for such a modern-made film. Sono's films frequently use a handheld camera and that appears to be the case here. This is single-layered but has a max'ed out bitrate. It is neither glossy nor pristinely sharp but come to think of it both Tokyo Tribe and Guilty of Romance looked similarly soft and heavy. I would guess the 1.85:1 aspect ratio Blu-ray visuals are an accurate representation of the production.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
The audio is transferred via a linear PCM 2.0 channel track at 1536 kbps (16-bit) in the original Japanese language. My software detected a DTS-HD Master 5.1 surround track but I could not access it nor was it listed in the menu. Strange to have a modern film like this, NOT have a surround track or at least option. There is a score credited to Susumu Akizuki and Hiroaki Kanai but there is also music like GLIM SPANKY's Real Onigokko, MONO performing The Last Dawn, Pure As Snow and The Land Between Tides. It can be as disoriented as its intent and sounds wild and unabandoned or passive with the ability to explode - in the uncompressed. The director is known to enjoy Mahler, Beethoven and Mozart. There are optional English subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.
Only a trailer. I would like a commentary one day analyzing the film's themes (perhaps by someone like Jasper Sharp) or a director interview. There is a second disc DVD of the feature.
September 23rd, 2017
About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.
Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who
focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I
find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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