The acting in the film is key. Every moment by Ken'ichi Matsuyama as Watanabe and Rinko Kikuchi as Naoko is valid yet seems distilled by memory rather than presented raw.
We cover years at a bound, but when we light, we tend to spend long, lingering moments through the camera's loving eye. This is a beautiful film to see.
| Original Score: 4.5/5
Tran has drained the life right out of the novel.
| Original Score: 2/4
It becomes a film that, like its characters, remains elusive in its motivations and therefore detached from its audience.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
A master of mood and visuals, Tran proves an inspired choice.
| Original Score: 3/4
It's sweet all the way up, wavers in dread and slides down to doom.
This lush, eventually torpid adaptation of Haruki Murakami's more nuanced 1987 cult-favorite novel considers youthful love, loss, and eros...
| Original Score: B-
A visually stunning and moving piece of storytelling bolstered by searing performances and a standout score by Jonny Greenwood.
Maybe this was the project Tran has been waiting for. I rate this the best film of his non-prolific career by far.
"Norwegian Wood" is a restrained portrait of liminal moments, a coming-of-age tale that feels more like a moody ghost story than a neatly contained chronicle of beginnings.
Even for a film set in a land that considers paper folding an exciting activity, this is dull stuff.
The gently diffuse light and color and the compositions by cinematographer Mark Lee Ping Bin, create a delicate, almost watercolored world, fading like a memory.
While this beautiful-looking film at times succeeds in capturing its source material's delicate emo spirit, it's far less attentive to the richness of Murakami's characters.
The truth is knotty in Norwegian Wood, deftly adapted by Franco-Vietnamese writer-director Tran Anh Hung from Haruki Murakami's most popular novel.
"Norwegian Wood" registers less as a coherent narrative than as a tortuous reverie steeped in mournful yearning.
| Original Score: 3/5
Tran seems to realize that the best a filmmaker can do under these circumstances may be to substitute visual for linguistic beauty. And he has created stunning tableaux, before which the saddest of stories unfolds.
Tran doesn't skimp on the book's '60s nostalgia, playing up the funky period fashions and retro-future decor.
Two and a half hours that offer barely a hint of the beloved 1987 cult novel's true flavor.
The performances of the young cast attain an affecting blend of reticence and hope, but it's Tran's fastidious technique that nudges the film into the realms of greatness.
| Original Score: 5/5
[A] long, elegantly shot, sporadically involving Japanese film.