Stephen’s review published on Letterboxd:
I was interested in this as soon as I heard about it as I’m a huge Haruki Murakami fan and had already read the short story on which it is based. It was fascinating to see how that narrative has been enriched and extended into a three-hour feature film that stands on its own as an exceptional work of art.
The film retains the mechanism of the growing bond between chauffer and passenger to explore the story of the leads but does away with the flashbacks for a linear format and greatly expands the cast and narrative to provide more depth, in particular using a multinational production of Chekov’s Uncle Vanya to highlight the struggles of the individuals in coming to terms with who they are.
This is one of the most sensitively put together films I’ve seen this year and I’m keen to see it again. It is rich in meaning and subtleties and was rightly a favourite during the festival circuit earlier this year. Keen to see more of Director Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s work, though struggling to find anything on western streaming services or Blu-ray at present. Surely this will change soon. Recommended!