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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

TAG [Blu-ray]


(Sion Sono, 2015)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Asmik Ace Entertainment

Video: Eureka



Region: 'B'-locked (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:25:33.336 

Disc Size: 25,844,872,459 bytes

Feature Size: 25,066,991,616 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.99 Mbps

Chapters: 9

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



English, none



Trailer (1:08)






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.



The Film:

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.

Excerpt from EfIlmCritic located HERE

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.

Excerpt from ScreenAnarchy located HERE

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.




















Audio :

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.



Extras :

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.



I started to reflect on the other Sion Sono films I had seen; Love Exposure, Tokyo Tribe and Guilty of Romance. Misogyny? Hmmm... I don't think so - it looks like he just doesn't discriminate when it comes to violence - and who it is perpetrated by or against. It, again, has teenage girls venturing to the dark side. His cinema may remind some of Seijun Suzuki - it doesn't have his 60's style but is visually hypnotic and disjointed - perhaps leaning more to the tradition of Japanese anime. I still feel there is something to this guy's work and look forward to re-watching and deciphering more. Eureka's bare-bones Blu-ray
let's you see the film in 1080P, which you may feel is more than enough with the ride Tag takes you on. Fans of Sono and the curious are encouraged to indulge. 

Gary Tooze

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.

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Gary W. Tooze






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