Norwegian Wood

I’m normally not very keen on the novel-turned-into-movie thing.
Has it happened to you that you walked out of the theatre disappointed? That’s been the case for me on many an occasion. Too often, a movie doesn’t seem to be able to grasp all there is in the novel. Surely it’s an almost impossible thing to fit hundreds of densely written pages in just around ninety minutes. Also, when you read a novel you envision everything yourself, making your own imagination work. In the movie the image is already there, prefabricated.
But exceptions exist.
On this chilly afternoon I decided to go and see Norwegian Wood, the movie based on Haruki Murakami’s bestselling novel of 1987 with the same title.
I remember when reading the book, I sometimes got a little bit annoyed with the main character. We’re talking a boy, twenty years young, who seems to be falling in love with the wrong girls. It seems as if he’s always looking for trouble. The girls he meets are playing with his feelings. He remains an example of stoic unconditional dedication and love. I would go nuts. I would…what do I know! But, to me, that’s what the story is about (of course, among other things). That’s how the book is. That’s also what I felt watching the movie.
It’s a slow book. It’s a slow movie. And I enjoyed both. Although the pace is slow, the tension is always present.
And it needs to be said: the images are stunning. The indoor scenes are bathing in beams of sunlight falling through the windows. The outdoor shots are crisp and as unpredictable as the moods of the actors. It’s true that an image can replace a thousand words. This is exactly what the images do here. They stand for all the unsaid words of the novel.

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