Norwegian Wood review

Adapting the Haruki Murakami novel of the same name, Norwegian Wood follows a young man in 1960s Japan and his deeply loving but complex relationship with a psychologically troubled girl.

As a matter of personal taste, this isn’t the kind of film that usually brings out smiles and excitement. Uncle Bore Me springs to mind; slow, contemplative, poetic, but whereas Uncle is filled to the brim with empty, pretentious bullshit, Norwegian Wood is a heartfelt romance, original and accessible, however plodding.

Acting is patchy but there are some treats, Rinko Kikuchi in particular, who is engrossing, captivating, compelling, even mesmerising. And the attention to composition, exploiting landscapes of fields and crashing waves is frequently beautiful yet sometimes feels gratuitous, as if there is more interest in taking a breath-taking photograph than aiding the story.

Norwegian Wood isn’t categorically wonderful as a whole; it is merely good. But there are elements worthy of considerable note - one to recommend, if you have the patience.

3 out of 5

17th Mar 2011 | Official site | On IMDb