Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Tag (5 Stars)

This is my Halloween Challenge film #12. It's undoubtedly one of the best films I've ever seen. I would rate it in my top three films, alongside "Lost Highway" and "Donnie Darko". As is to be expected from a film of this complexity, the reviews are mixed. Some people have taken the time to try to understand the story and comprehend its beauty, whereas the rest just don't get it.

The original name of the film is "Riaru Onigokko", "The Running World", based on a novel with the same name. The book was first adapted for cinema in 2008, so this film is technically a remake. From what I understand, the 2008 version was a fairly accurate retelling of the book, whereas this version, made in 2015 by Sion Sono, adds a feminist element that isn't present in the novel.

Mitsuko is a 15-year-old schoolgirl. She's also a 25-year-old bride called Keiko and a champion marathon runner called Izumi. She doesn't know who she is, because she morphs from one body into another when she's running. All she knows is that wherever she goes everyone dies. Within the first four minutes of the film 60 schoolgirls are sliced in half, leaving Mitsuko as the only survivor.

"Tag" is both mysterious and terrifying. I don't want to say too much about the plot for fear of giving away the mystery. Please don't read any reviews about the film before you watch it, except for mine. You should sit down and figure out what's happening for yourself. Unless, of course, you're someone who will be so appalled by the violence and the body count in the hundreds that you'll just call it rubbish and turn it off.

Ever since "The Ring" Japanese films have featured young girls with their faces hidden by their hair. "Tag" has a whole army of faceless girls.

Unfortunately there's still no official release with English subtitles. I have to rely on a legally doubtful copy of the film ripped from a streaming website. I don't like doing that, I always buy my own films. I'm waiting anxiously for an official subtitled release of this brilliant film.

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