Tokyo Tribe

Tokyo Tribe ★★★★

"Happy birthday!"

Fuck yes.

Sion Sono has made some weird shit, but Tokyo Tribe tops them all, both in terms of enveloping insanity and a feverishly contained vision. It's beyond description in every way, beginning with a mesmerizing tracking shot that soars and dives, immediately showcasing a neon-drenched and a seductively rainy world. Playing like a mix of early-2000s Hip-Hop music videos, Yakuza movies, and an explosion at a fireworks factory; Tokyo Tribe is a Hip-Hopera of sorts where almost every line of dialogue is rapped.

Yeah. You heard that right.

And yet, that level of absurdity is raised and raised throughout its two hour run-time, culminating in a final battle that makes the last act of Why Don't You Play in Hell? feel like a warm-up. The vision is darkly misogynistic, revealing a world of repeated abuse to women, but this very tone is upended when the true message of the film is revealed. Without spoilers, the film is very optimistic and hopeful, aiming for the truth and community of solidarity without veering into sentimentalism.

The direction by Sion Sono is utterly breathtaking, gliding from frenzied handheld work to elaborate tracking shots that flow so naturally that I hardly noticed them. Along with the eye-popping use of color and the unabashedly unique production design, Sono's film lives and breathes off the screen, continually stepping up the lunacy while never skimping on character.

In conclusion, this needs to be seen to be believed. Glorious, spectacular, fantastical, and batshit madness around every turn. A pure experience, I've never seen anything like Tokyo Tribe, and neither have you.

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