Judge Paul Pritchard is limited only by his incompetence.
Exist Everywhere, Extend Everywhere.
Schoolgirl Tsukiko (Moe Arai) lives in the shadow of her older sister, Tomie (Miu Nakamura), who is extremely popular and commands the attention of the male students at their school. Amongst Tomie's many admirers is Toshio, whom Tsukiko harbors feelings for. Despite some resentment toward her sister, Tsukiko is devastated when Tomie is killed in a horrific accident. Understandably traumatized by having witnessed Tomie's death, Tsukiko suffers terrifying nightmares that revolve around the incident. Tsukiko's nightmare is only just beginning, as one year later—on what would have been Tomie's eighteenth birthday—Tsukiko and her parents are stunned when Tomie reappears, apparently unharmed. Though her parents are overjoyed at the return of their daughter, Tsukiko is filled with fear. Gradually Tsukiko's concerns are borne out, as Tomie reveals the truth behind her resurrection.
It is evident from very early on that Tomie: Unlimited is the work of a fertile imagination, yet for all the invention on show, there is nothing for the viewer to really latch onto. Following a desperately boring narrative, populated by characters that fail to make a lasting impression, the film ultimately ends up as nothing more than a blood-soaked curio that will undoubtedly earn admirers, but left me a little cold. Although there are hints at something deeper, mostly surrounding the nature of obsession and the wish to be desired, it's possible such interpretations stem solely from wanting to find meaning in a film that apparently lacks any.
For his part, Director Noboru Iguchi doesn't seem overly concerned with telling a coherent story, but instead sets out to craft a film that follows a dreamlike logic. In this respect the film is a success, as it certainly plays like the nightmare of an insecure teenage girl. Visually, Tomie: Unlimited is a mixed bag. Although much of the imagery is striking in its design, it is let down by the execution, which frequently exposes poor CGI and prosthetics work. Worse still is just how labored the horror sequences are. Though admittedly not a straight horror, Tomie: Unlimited is littered with sequences that take the film firmly into the genre. With rare exception, these sequences totally fail to produce any tension or dread in the viewer. Sequences that should send a chill down the spine—such as the moment the confused members of a judo club ponder whether to decapitate a young girl—are clumsily handled, failing even to succeed on the merits of its gore content.
The biggest problem with Tomie: Unlimited is that it doesn't produce any strong emotions in the viewer, making it difficult to feel anything but ambivalence toward it. The film manages to drag, despite clocking in at a mere 85 minutes, but odd little moments—such as the scene where a bodiless Tomie clone is grown in a plant pot—just about do enough to grab one's attention, albeit only briefly.
Beyond a trailer for the film, the only extra included on the disc is an interview with Director Noboru Iguchi. Running just shy of an hour, the interview is arguably far more entertaining than the feature presentation, especially when Iguchi discusses his start in film making which included "enema videos."
The DVD sports a fine-looking standard definition 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer, which is sharp throughout and contains an intentionally muted color palette. The only audio option is a Japanese-language 2.0 Dolby stereo mix, though English subs are available.
Tomie: Unlimited is the sixth film in the "Tomie" series, and is also the first I have seen. Perhaps seeing the previous five films is a necessary step toward really understanding and appreciating this latest effort, but Tomie: Unlimited has left me with no desire to spend more time on these films, and is impossible to recommend.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Bounty Films
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