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Slow adaptation of Murakami’s ’60s-set novel...

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Directed by Tran Anh Hung
Starring Rinko Kikuchi, Kenichi Matsuyama, Kiko Mizuhara


Such is the affection in which Haruki Murakami’s 1987 novel is held that Tran Anh Hung’s adaptation will never please everyone.

So Murakami fans please note that while the cinematography is beautiful, the story’s melancholy allure and wit are over-shadowed by a torpid sense of dread.

Set in 1967, student Watanabe (Kenichi Matsuyama) moves to Tokyo at the time of student unrest, haunted by the suicide of his friend, and struggling with his attraction to two girls, the grieving Naoko (Rinko Kikuchi) and the playful Midori (Kiko Mizuhara).

Essentially, Watanabe is torn between life and death, and while the film can’t replicate the snap of Murakami’s writing, it does evince the intensity of young adulthood, mired in infatuation and doom.

Jonny Greenwood’s excellent score adds dark angles to the emotional tumescence.

Alastair McKay

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