Tony Takitani

Rated 4.0

What’s so exquisite about Jun Ichikawa’s adaptation of Haruki Murakami’s novella is that, without forfeiting any cinematic fluency, it feels like being with a book. That’s thanks to the constancy of its narration, the recurrent page-turning transition of its slow tracking scroll from one attentively composed sequence to the next, and the muted focus of Ryuichi Sakamoto’s lone-piano score. Such control verges on detachment and will get on some viewers’ nerves, but it’s right for the material, which they likely wouldn’t have cared for anyway. A lonely, melancholic technical illustrator (Issei Ogata) adores his young wife (Miyazawa Rie) for the naturalness with which she inhabits her clothes, and he ultimately suffers for the obsessiveness with which she shops for them. Murakami, who has said that writing a story is like playing out a dream while awake, and who courts readers by means of enchantment, has found a terrific ally in Ichikawa, whose lucidly dreamed film rewards the readerly disposition.