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Customer Review

3.0 out of 5 stars Unsure, 20 Aug. 2014
This review is from: Norwegian Wood [DVD] (DVD)
An adaptation of a much-loved book must be a tricky undertaking. How to appeal to those who have read the book as well as those who haven't? Being one of the former, I was disappointed. The film was not a total failure by any means, but it could have been so much better. There were hints of greatness, but ultimately that just made it all the more frustrating. The first hour is not good. Long, dark, drawn-out scenes where the boy sleeps and the girl cries... a lot. The detail, nuance and richness of the novel appear mostly lost at first and the whole thing feels flat. I was almost ready to give up, but I persevered. The second hour is more satisfying. The story takes strange turns, emotions are evoked and the look, sound and feel are more visceral. Johhny Greenwood's score is disturbing, eerie and excellent; the choice of songs is dreadful. The Donovan-style 'Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary' made my skin crawl. The cinematography is often beautiful with the utilization of some stunning locations, though at times the direction is laughably clumsy. The screenplay is lifeless in some scenes and elevates the narrative tremendously in others. Those who have not read the book may feel bewildered by many aspects of the story. The film omits a lot of the novel's pertinent detail. The student protests are only hinted at. The relationship Wantanabe builds with the girl's sick father is reduced to a single wordless scene. The acting is excellent throughout and the performances help to carry the film along. One wonders at the money-spinning cynicism of adapting a popular, but mainly cerebral book by an author with global acclaim. Making a successful movie from a book like this would be a tough undertaking for even the most skilled of writers. There is a good film in here somewhere. With more consistency, we might have seen it.
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Location: Norfolk, England

Top Reviewer Ranking: 30,784