Sono Sion Capsule Reviews

Sono Sion Capsule Reviews

Tokyo Tribe (2014) — February 20, 2015

I’d love to see this play on a double bill somewhere with The Midnight After.

I would totally show this movie to a class to explain the society and culture of early Anglo-Saxon Britain.
Somewhat related: no one wants me teaching their history classes.

Anyway, I think these are the best musicals of 2014:

1. Tokyo Tribe
2. Highway
3. The Last 5 Years
4. Into the Woods
5. Jersey Boys

Great year, probably the best year for musicals since 1984.

Emmanuel Lubezki is a great cinematographer, and he’s almost certainly going to win his second Oscar in a row this weekend, but there’s nothing in the cinematography of Birdman that Tokyo Tribe doesn’t do better, with more style, creativity and panache. I’ve never heard of Sôma Daisuke before, but he does good work.

Tag (2015) — June 11, 2016

Tag is one of six movies Sono Sion directed in 2015 (one was for television). Opening on a school bus full of girls laughing and playing on their way to a field trip and quickly descending into unnerving supernatural violence, and only getting weirder from there, the film isn’t quite as audacious as Sono’s hiphop musical Tokyo Tribe, but what it lacks in final act coherence and originality (like many an anime, it descends into philosophical abstraction as its characters become allegories for whatever pathologies in Japanese culture one wishes to interrogate, in this case misogyny, in general as well as specifically in gaming culture) it makes up for in momentum and a beautifully specific performance from Reina Triendl as the primary incarnation of the girl at the heart of the story. This girl leads several lives: aging into high school, a wedding ceremony, and a road race, all of which end in disaster, as all the women around her (there are no men) are slaughtered, either by a terrifying wind or leather-clad, heavily-armed, middle-aged women. The closest comparison then might be The Wachowskis’ Jupiter Ascending, in which a young woman must travel through and defeat various incarnations of society’s idea of womanhood before she can become a fully-actualized super-heroine. Tag, however, settles for the easy (and deserved) target that is men in general, specifically embodied in a creepy old dude and a horny young man. Still, given that much of the audience for this genre of film deserves every indictment they can get (the trailer for the film cleverly plays on their desire to see pretty young girls hacked to pieces), the conclusion is nothing if not satisfying.