Norwegian Wood (teaser) is maybe one of the most awaited japanese film this year. And, according to first reviews, it’s beautiful, but feels quite hollow.
Tran Anh Hung would seem the ideal filmmaker to tackle Haruki Murakami’s novel Norwegian Wood, [...] but 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 film] suffers from common adaptation problems — truncated supporting roles, excessive voiceover. [...] Lovely but listless picture.
• FilmBizAsia – 6/10
With whole chunks of dialogue leaping off the screen, [the film] is a very faithful adaptation of Murakami Haruki’s 1987 novel [...] At 100 minutes maximum, Norwegian Wood could work as a meticulously mounted slice of metaphysical cinema; at 136 minutes it just ends up damaging itself [...] The eponymous Beatles song is heard only twice, and briefly.
• NY Times
The period 1960s detail is convincing but discreetly unobtrusive. The landscapes as they pass through the seasons are majestically shot and the story, enlivened by fugitive moments of humor, is a poignant one. But if the running time of nearly two and a quarter hours were reduced, the intensity of the experience might be increased.
Tran Anh Hung does an impressive job of transferring he textured novel into a poetic and accessible screenplay, but more importantly films in such a lush and beautiful manner that even the slowest of moments are eminently watchable just in a sense of sheer visual delight
133 minutes is a punishing length of time during which to be informed that teenagers both like and fear sex, and that death bums them out. At half that length, the film could be an affecting miniature; as it stands, it’s an overstretched canvas for Mark Lee’s masterly lensing, locating warmth and textures of light many others are still struggling to find in HD, and Jonny Greenwood’s lushly abrasive score.
The production design was immaculate; [a]nd one can never underestimate the elegance of Tran’s direction: both as a maker of exquisite images, and as a poet of melancholy, he is almost freakishly gifted. Why, then, did this feel so hollow? The problem resides, I think, in the source material [...] a 133-minute bummer.