Sion Sono’s TAG
A movie review by Dennis D. McDonald
TAG operates on several levels: as an allegory for female subjugation, as a constantly moving travelogue through a rural Japanese countryside, and as an over-the-top violent gore-fest.
By themselves none of these levels is totally coherent. Taken together they do make a singular impression on the patient viewer.
Central to the movie is the basic idea that we all live in a universe that exists in multiple dimensions where it's totally fate (or chance?) that drives which dimension or timeline we’ll occupy at any given moment. The main character, high school student Mitsuko, purely by chance survives a spectacularly gruesome accident that takes the lives of two busloads of her holiday bound female classmates. Mitsuko makes her way back to her school where we then embark with her on a series of bizarre, violent, and surreal adventures.
We follow as she occupies (is reincarnated into?) the bodies of two other young women, the first a wedding day bride and the second a long-distance runner competing in a marathon.
How this all ends is intended to be grandly symbolic, I suppose, yet I was constantly entertained by the director's attempt to grab for social significance while balancing all the other disparate themes.
It's quite a ride if you like this sort of thing. Along the way we see a lot of drone based footage that frequently tracks from above or behind the constantly moving characters. TAG would probably make a great double bill feature with Tom Tykwer’s RUN LOLA RUN!