Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Norwegian Wood (2010)

Norwegian Wood / Noruwei no mori (2010)
Norwegian Wood / Noruwei no mori / ノルウェイの森 (2010)

Genre: Drama
Director: Anh Hung Tran
Starring: Kenichi Matsuyama, Rinko Kikuchi, Kiko Mizuhara
Duration:  133 min.
Rating: 6.8/10

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.

Norwegian Wood / Noruwei no mori (2010)

Norwegian Wood / Noruwei no mori (2010)

Norwegian Wood / Noruwei no mori (2010)

Norwegian Wood / Noruwei no mori (2010)

Norwegian Wood / Noruwei no mori (2010)

Norwegian Wood / Noruwei no mori (2010)

Norwegian Wood / Noruwei no mori (2010)

Norwegian Wood / Noruwei no mori (2010)


Chris said...

I'm glad I found your blog, as I also love independent and some foreign language films, and I often review them myself.

Funny thing is, I'm actually reading Norwegian Wood at the moment, and the film is on my to-see-list. To be honest, the novel hasn't lived up to my expectations, the plot doesn't really go anywhere. A lot of random scenes it seems, maybe because life is messy? I think my favourite character was the funny roommate at the beginning, I hope that section is in the film.

from Chris, moviesandsongs365

Jack L said...

Seems interesting, I'll keep it in mind and maybe check it out someday...

btw have you seen the Japanese film Eureka ?
I was thinking of watching it this week and would be interested to hear your thoughts on it...

The Angry Lurker said...

Heard about this on another blog aswell but not for me possibly.

Beasts in Human Skin said...

I laughed at the title. Does that make me immature? ...Norwegian Wood.

Mutfux said...

Looks good ill have to check it out.

Tamara said...

I'm guessing the title will be explained at some point in the movie? Because it seems a little random, since I have never seen the movie or read the book.
The scenes do look pretty, though perhaps the actual movie poster itself is the best. It looks stunning

Bonjour Tristesse said...

Welcome to the blog Chris, I haven't read the book myself so I can't really comment on that, but his roommate is shown in the film briefly.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

No I haven't seen that one yet.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

Possibly, but there's nothing wrong with that.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

I would say read it first, I'm sure I would have enjoyed the film a lot more, or at least understood it better if I had read the book.

Hermann Rorschach said...

Yeah, chalk me up with a little immaturity too. "Wood." That's all it takes for me to chuckle? Really?

Adalmin said...

Oh god, I would agree about the visuals, but my dad wore those clothes in terribly fashion-impaired Myanmar in the 80's, so I spent the whole movie cringing.

blahblahblahtoby said...

where are you based to have seen this movie? i'm deeply envious. after the quality and beauty of murakami's other major film - tony takitani - i am itching to see this but there's still no australian release date. as chris said the novel was a little underwhelming, especially after reading some of his other work but still i've been waiting a long time for this movie.

Mette said...

The visuals do look beautiful, so I might watch the film and also read the novel... Just need to plan, which one I'll do first.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

I'm in Canada, but I didn't see it at the cinema.  It is indeed a very beautiful film.

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