Where We Got It: We were with our friend who was looking for her weekend-filler TV series in DVD when we found this gem along Carriedo. And Haruki Murakami freaks that we are, we couldn’t say pass on this purchase. 50 bucks for a good copy–not bad although a little upscale considering the common pricing (30-40 bucks) in the area we found it. But we don’t say no to Murakami. Never.
What the Hell? Well, Murakami’s a Japanese guy. And you know how disturb their brains are sort of differently-wired from ours. We could talk about almost all his books published in English, so why pass up on a movie adaptation of a short story we dearly loved? You could read it here, by the way. We’re much willing to see it like curling on the couch with our cat. We don’t have one, but we just said that to sound like a Murakami story. Although we’re also afraid we would curse the movie for days even if it’s really “simple”. A self-exile trombone-player’s son, this middle-aged advertising illustrator named Tony Takitani (after an American officer) falls in love with a twenty-something fashionista. They get married, but her penchant for brand like Valentino, Missoni, Saint Laurent, Givenchy, Ferragamo, Armani, Cerruti, and Gianfranco Ferré becomes alarmingly abnormal. So Tony asks her to return some clothes she bought. Then she dies in an accident. His dad dies too, so Tony says “Huhuhu.” No, not even.
What We Really Think: To be honest, we still say pass on our judgment. But allow us to justify. First, we don’t really like comparing movie adaptations with their source media. It’s better to take them independently, but we know that we’ll end up comparing anyway. We’re confused, for example, if we want dialogue or just say OK to the narration and occasional lines blurted out by the actors. Second, we seriously love Tony Takitani not only for its off-beat characters but also for its context. We do not see this kind of character background until Murakami’s The Wind-up Bird Chronicle which is probably still his best work to date. Third, we’re afraid it was just the Ryuichi Sakamoto scoring that hypnotized us into finishing it. Quasi-sleepy attention is the term. Fourth, the visuals really got the Murakami mood–fleeting because of the continuous movement, silent because of the very shallow focusing, muted because of the predominantly grey palette, sometimes horrible and excruciating because of the lighting. It could be two things: the adaptation is faithful (which is a problematic criterion) or too safe it is boring.