Director: Anh Hung Tran
Starring: Kenichi Matsuyama, Rinko Kikuchi, Kiko Mizuhara
Duration: 133 min.
Toru remembers back to his life in the 1960s, when his friend Kizuki killed himself and he grew close to Naoko, Kizuki's girlfriend. As the two try, in very different ways, to contend with their grief, Toru forms a bond with another woman, Midori.
Norwegian Wood is a Japanese film by acclaimed Vietnamese director Anh Hung Tran, and is an adaptation of a Haruki Murakami novel of the same name. It is a drama set in 1960's Tokyo, that follows an university student after his best friend suddenly commits suicide, and his relationships with two very different women.
First of all, this film is visually breathtaking. The cinematography by Ping Bin Lee is stunning, every single shot in the film is framed and lit meticulously, the exterior locations are all postcard material, the set dressing is perfectly detailed, and the costume design filled with 60's fashion and hair styles is amazing. Also the soundtrack, and score done by Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood was excellent. I really was in awe with the sights and sounds and the overall mood of this film.
The problem though is the screenplay, it feels as if this was intended for people who have already read the book, because the characters and their motivations were not adequately developed on screen. Even though the acting came across genuine, I didn't feel any emotional involvement at all, and about half way through I didn't care about the story anymore. Yes the direction was wonderful, but a great film needs more than just two hours of pretty pictures.