Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Tony Takitani

Lonely man marries woman, woman is addicted to buying clothes, woman dies, man is lonely again.

If ever there was a short story that didn't require padding out into a feature-length film, this is it. The original, by novelist Haruki Murakami, was written for the New Yorker and takes up barely 13 pages of a PDF file.

Ichikawa's adaptation is beautifully, albeit self-consciously, shot, but his translation from little story to big screen is literal-minded at best - it's like the illustrated children's edition. Murakami's trademark lightness of touch is nowhere to be found. For the duration of the film, the flat dialogue is flatly and linearly narrated; characters breaking out of their one-dimensional stasis every so often to chime in and finish off the narrator's sentences. A technique that would have been irritating once, but used ad infinitum is elevated to the rank of teeth-grindingly insufferable.

This truly is the proverbial cure for insomnia: a mind-numbingly prosaic depiction of the life of graphic artist Tony and his oniomaniacal wife that says less about the nature of loneliness than it does about the nature of tedium. Tony Takitani clearly wants to be seen as a film of quiet beauty and profundity - you can almost see it straining to measure up - but it falls well, well short. Superficial in every way.

Dir. Jun Ichikawa, 2004


  1. It does sound rank rotten. On the subject of disappointing murakami can anyone in the assemble-insert-iverse tell my whether I should finish the last third of 1Q94? It's had some promising moments but I'm beginning to suspect its godawful. Perhaps he turns around in the final section?

  2. It's godawful. My mispunctuation shames me.

  3. I've read most of Murakami's books but not that one. Much as I like his style, he does tend to tread the same ground over and over. I prefer his zanier stuff like Wild Sheep Chase and Hard Boiled Wonderland.

  4. 1Q84's got a sexy enigmatic schoolgirl with mysterious powers. Just in case we hadn't realised murakami's japanese. I usually really like his stuff, but this is too long, too boring, too stupid and too annoying.