Norwegian Wood

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norwegian woodOn the day that a best selling book becomes a blockbuster movie (The Hunger Games)… a cult book from 1987, became a small indie picture.

It’s Tokyo in the late ‘60s. Everyone is listening to the Beatles and wanting to overthrow the establishment. One young man has a personal life that is tumultuous as well. He loves a woman who was with his best friend. He killed himself a few years earlier, and this forges a most bizarre, tragic bond.

He eventually hooks up with a woman that is the complete opposite – outgoing, confident, and wild. Let the craziness and excitement ensue, right? Well, not exactly.

Glancing at the notes I took while watching the movie, I had a bunch of one word descriptions. Beautiful, sad, meandering…

Certain the cinematography was stunning. I loved the score, done by Radioheads Jonny Greenwood. I hated his eerie score for the interesting There Will Be Blood, but he nails it this time out.

I always like when I find out the person that wrote the novel (Haruki Murakami) is brought in to co-author the screenplay.

I understand the motivations of two characters in the movie, but not two others. I’m not sure I understand the motivation of director Anh Hung Tran. It’s such a slow paced movie. This minimalistic approach didn’t work.

Both this and Hunger Games were close to 2 and ½ hours long. Norwegian Wood felt like it was that long.

And that’s a shame, because so many of the things happening in this could’ve worked. Instead of the bustling cities of Japan, we get some interesting landscapes. We have snow and rain used nicely to convey emotions.

I think about how a beautifully shot scene with snow, created such tenderness and affection for a couple. The nice moods were ruined by a problematic narrative.

And all the sex and crying in this, brought back painful memories of my prom night! You’re better off spending two minutes listening to the Beatles classic, instead of over two hours on this picture.

It gets 2 stars out of 5.

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