Norwegian Wood details
|Formats:||15 DVD, Blu-ray|
|Starring:||Rinko Kikuchi, Ken'ichi Matsuyama, Kiko Mizuhara, Tetsuji Tamayama, Kengo Kôra, Kengo Kora, Reika Kirishima|
|Director:||Anh Hung Tran|
|Genres:||Drama - General, Romantic, Romance, World Cinema - Japanese|
|Collections:||July - World Cinema|
|Run time:||2 hours 13 minutes|
|Rental release:||04 Jul 2011|
By Tom Charity from LOVEFiLM
A tragic love story based on an acclaimed Japanese novel...
Most helpful review
Can't see the wood for the treesBy daylightsimulator (42 reviews) from london , 18 Mar 2011
[Highly rated reviewer]
[Highly rated reviewer]I was looking forward to 'Norwegian Wood'. Liked the novel (if not Murakami's best), like the director, like J. Greenwood v. much.
But the film was a (Radiohead song title/lyric alert) let down...slightly hysterical at times and a bit useless at others.
The story is simple. A man, Watanabe, looks back to his Tokyo student days in the late 60's and his relationship with Naoko, a troubled, damaged girl. His recollection is sparked off by a memory of the Beatles' song of the film's title: 'I once had a girl, or should I say, she once had me' pretty much sums up the theme of the film.
Naoko is haunted by the motiveless suicide of her boyfriend from her school days, and is unable to establish a relationship with Watanabe. (In the novel, her elder sister has also committed suicide - it's like catching a cold in Japan, apparently). The bookish, withdrawn Watanabe, meanwhile, is pursued by Midori, another girl from college, but cannot commit to her due to his obsession with Naoko.
Naoko's mental problems lead her to take refuge in a remote clinic. Watanabe visits her there, hoping to find her condition improving. But it is clear that it is only getting worse.
The book ticked various boxes: a wallowing in suicide, mental illness, beautiful, doomed young people, confusing sex, the importance of music. There was a thin coating of social upheaval and an appealing atmosphere of regret and melancholia. What saved it was Murakami's humour and off-kilter view of the world, and that's what the film lacks.
Instead there is a aura of turgid self-importance and a lack of subtlety both in the acting and direction. The novel seemed to have a perspective on late adolescent introspection, but the film takes it at face value. Greenwood's not particularly exciting contribution is intermingled with existing tracks and edited in a deliberately jarring way, which again comes across as self-conscious. The film tries to be dreamy and lush in the vein of 'The Virgin Suicides' but is too lumpen, reverting again and again to three-quarter profile shots held for way too long. Look! Pain. Isolation. Depression. Yeah, we get it. Everything stands proud in this film, nothing seems to properly cohere. It rains a lot. There are some stormy seas.
Like the book, it does women no favours at all, presenting them as either kamikaze neurotics, sex mad, or simply in need of a good seeing-to. Watanabe is a humour-free, self-centred misery.
Isn't it good, Norwegian Wood? No, not really.
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I think I'm going to read the book again.By a customer , 20 Apr 2013If you love the book I wouldn't recommend this film. I felt it was completely missing the feeling that the book conveyed so beautifully.
Visually strikingBy Tish2 (142 reviews) from London , 01 Feb 2013
[Highly rated reviewer]Im not quite sure how I feel about this film. It is visually and aurally impressive, with imaginative cinematography and an excellent soundtrack composed by Jonny Greenwood, as well as featuring three songs from Can. At over two hours Norwegian Wood feels overlong, and throughout the course of the film I began to lose interest in how the relationship between Watnabe and Naoke might progress. Some of the main characters also seem paper thin, and even the main character of Watnabe - although ably acted by Kenichi Matsuyama - didnt seem properly developed. I found his acting to be particularly moving near the end of the film, although unfortunately the conclusion itself didnt come as too much of a surprise. Although visually striking, this wasnt enough to maintain my interest and so overall the film is something of a disappointment.
Wood you wannabe WatanabeBy blackpolekev (206 reviews) from blackpole , 29 Oct 20121967: teenagers Kizuki, his girlfriend Naoko, and his best friend Watanabe were inseparable. When Kizuki commits suicide, for unknown reasons, Watanabe (Kenichi Matsuyama) moves to Tokyo and college.
Then one day Naoko, played by Rinko Kikuchi (The Brothers Bloom, Oscar nominated for Babel) appears out of the blue, much to Watanabe's surprise. Their friendship blossoms but Kizuki is never mentioned until Naoko's 20th birthday; when Watanabe asks Naoko about her relationship with Kizuki, she becomes uncontrollably upset. She immediately leaves Tokyo without telling Watanabe. After a while Watanabe receives a letter from Naoko saying she is in a sanatorium suffering mental/emotional anxiety & she does not want Watanabe to see her.
Meanwhile Watanabe is being pursued by the beautiful but capricious Midori (Kiko Mizuhara in her first film) and his friendship with her grows, just as it did with Naoko. Then Watanabe gets an invitation from Naoko to visit her. In one marvellous scene Watanabe and Naoko walk frantically in the early morning lush green countryside talking about Kizuki. This scene runs for very nearly 5 minutes - incredibly without a single edit - with the camera following them both continuously. It's absolutely stunning to watch. Some reviewers here have said the film is boring but I completely disagree. Could it be they have gotten so used to the manic 2 or 3-second editing so prevalent nowadays in Hollywood/British films that scenes which are masterfully edited seem slow in comparison.
Another scene has Watanabe and now Midori, facing each other, not moving, just talking and set outside again but this time amidst the falling snow. Watanabe is on the far left of the picture with Midori on the extreme right. This scene runs for 4 minutes, again without a single edit and with no movement except for the camera slowly bringing them closer towards the viewer. It may sound dull but it's fascinating with great dialogue and Midori revealing that she has been 'hurt enough already'.
Everyone Watanabe knows is damaged and the three main characters have such complex issues to deal with that it makes compelling viewing. Watanabe has such strong feelings for Naoko but she is basically a head-case. He also likes Midori, and she likes him, yet she is continually messing with his mind by flirting with him and at the same time taunting him with talk of her 'boyfriend' who may or may not even exist.
In one great scene, amidst crashing waves, Watanabe is heartbroken over someone's death, and we can actually feel his despair; his sobbing is drowned out by the overpowering music which, despite being quite incongruous, is nevertheless so dynamic and intense it actually gave me goose flesh. Watanabe says 'Nothing can heal the loss of a beloved... all we can do is live through the sorrow and learn something from it. But whatever we learn will be of no help in facing the next sorrow to come along'. Ain't that the truth.
But it's not all doom and gloom: the unexpected smile on Midori's face at something Watanabe says - it's a moment of happiness that is simply lovely to watch.
See the film, forget the bookBy a customer , 15 Oct 2012I found the original novel incredibly self-indulgent, queasily pornographic, quite mysogynistic and the characters deeply unengaging. And far too long. So you might wonder: why watch the film then? I was intrigued, I guess, especially about the cinematography. I thought the physical descriptions of Japan (apartments, interiors, food, cities, trains, countryside) the best parts of the book, after all.
The film was far, far better than I expected far better, in my view, than the book. Beautiful, unsettling, the youngsters self-absorbed and often irritating but genuine in their needs and their loneliness, with much unexplained, and through it all this obsession with death true to the novel but conveyed much more compactly and compellingly. The leads were all most engaging more attractive characters than in the book. I found it quite moving.
It was greatly improved by the film makers having the good taste to omit the worst part of the novel (Reiko's back story). Only 3 stars, though, because I am baffled as to why they also omitted the novel's framing device (wouldn't that have worked well in film?) and they made the ending far too upbeat.
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What a disappointment...By haruka (1 review) , 29 Apr 2012As Japanese Murakami fan I read the novel well more than 10 times since I read it for the first time 20 years ago, I had quite a mixed feeling of curiosity and fear to see something bad, which is often the case for film adaptation of a novel.
To me it looked like a patchwork picking up several scenes in the story and there seemed to have no linkage between those scenes which makes it very superficial. There is no depth at all in each characters and acting was just hopeless. I literally covered my face with dispair at several scenes.
This is one of the cases you just better stick to the book which is without a doubt masterpiece.
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