ObiWanJabronie’s review published on Letterboxd:
“We must keep on living.“
After Burning, this was the second film adaptation of a Murakami story that I’ve seen this year without knowing that it was a Murakami adaptation before the opening credits. He’s maybe my favorite writer, so this is an absolutely delightful thing to have happen a second time.
Like Burning, and all of Murakami's writing, the story is secondary to the vibe. Hamaguchi touches on ALL the hits—love, guilt, grief, art, rage, connection—but they’re all explored through fleeting moments and glimpses, perhaps ironically given the runtime.
The cinematography is gorgeous and there’s some neat sound design. There’s a throwaway shot of a crane-claw at a garbage dump that randomly had me mesmerized. I loved the sound dropping out when they get to the snowy fields. And what a flex with the opening credits dropping after 40 minutes.
Hidetoshi Nishijima, Tôko Miura, Park Yu-Rim, and Masaki Okada were all wonderful. Okada has a monologue where he really blows the doors off - a bit frightening and a bit pathetic.