Tony Takitani

"Excellent"

Tony Takitani Review


If you haven't treated yourself to the stories and novels of Haruki Murakami, you really should, but in the meantime, Tony Takitani, a faithful interpretation of one of Murakami's best short stories, will give you an outstanding introduction to the Murakami writing style as well as his recurring themes of jazz, loneliness, disassociation, and women who go missing.

Running a brisk 75 minutes and narrated dispassionately in Murakami's terse written voice, this is a film that really feels like a short story. We get a quick briefing on Tony Takitani's jazz musician father (Issye Ogata plays both Tony and his father) and his World War II experiences playing trombone in a Shanghai hotel and soon learn that Tony's mother died in 1947 days after childbirth, leaving young Tony to be raised by housekeepers while his father toured. Loneliness was always his natural state.

Tony grows up to be a technical illustrator and is rarely distracted from his drawing board until decades later when, in the midst of middle age, he meets and falls in love with the much younger Eiko (Rie Miyazawa). He loves everything about her, especially the way she seems to get such joy out of wearing beautiful clothes. It's her passion, she explains, but after the wedding it becomes clear it's actually an addiction. She's a world-class shopaholic, a fact the movie telegraphs with a wonderful montage of the absolutely fabulous shoes she wears as she wanders from boutique to boutique.

When Eiko disappears, leaving her hundreds of beautiful dresses and coats behind, the terror of abandonment that Tony developed as soon as he fell in love becomes real, and in desperation, he hires an assistant (also played by Miyazawa) and makes it a condition of her employment that she wear his wife's clothes, a wonderful nod to Hitchcock's Vertigo that's classic Murakami (he revels in Western pop culture references).

Can this end happily? Well, what would Hitchcock say? Tony isn't wired quite right for the world in which he lives, and that fact becomes more and more obvious as we watch his life pass by, literally, from left to right, in a nearly constant series of slow camera pans that make the entire film unspool like a Japanese scroll. Director Jun Ichikawa makes all the right decisions, giving this dark tale a spare feel (with the exception of all those luxurious clothes) that mirrors Tony's empty life. He embodies that lose-lose conundrum we all face: loneliness is painful, but finding and then losing love is just as bad, so which is the right way to go?

Another interpretation is to see Tony as the embodiment of Japan's practical hard-working past and Eiko as the embodiment of is frivolous consumption-crazy present, with the suggestion that those two Japans are irreconcilable. That may be reading too much into it, but such is the Murakami magic. Hiding behind his plain language and simple plots are all kinds of deep thoughts waiting to be discovered. Tony Takitani will linger in your mind. You'll find yourself hoping that poor Tony eventually finds a way to live in the world.

Say hello to his little friend. Oh, different Tony.



Tony Takitani

Facts and Figures

Run time: 105 mins

In Theaters: Saturday 29th January 2005

Distributed by: Strand Releasing

Production compaines: Breath, Wilco Co.

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 88%
Fresh: 46 Rotten: 6

IMDB: 7.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Jun Ichikawa

Producer: Ishida Motoki

Starring: Takahumi Shinohara as Young Tony Takitani, as Narrator, as Tony Takitani, Shozaburo Takitani, Rie Miyazawa as Konuma Eiko, Hisako, Takahumi Shinohara as Young Tony Takitani, as Narrator

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

Keanu Reeves picks up his supremely efficient hitman immediately where the 2015 original left him:...

Fences Movie Review

Fences Movie Review

After winning Tony Awards on Broadway, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis reteam for a film...

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

A spin-off from 2014's awesome The Lego Movie, this raucously paced action-comedy is proof that...

The Space Between Us Movie Review

The Space Between Us Movie Review

While the premise of this movie makes it look like a sci-fi adventure, the truth...

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

On paper, the idea of a two-hour 40-minute German comedy may not seem very promising,...

Advertisement
Gold Movie Review

Gold Movie Review

Based on a true story, this lively and sometimes outrageous adventure is packed with twists...

Loving Movie Review

Loving Movie Review

While this film tackles a huge issue in the history of race relations in America,...

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

It's been 20 years since we last saw four freewheeling young junkies from Edinburgh spiral...

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Based on an astounding true story, this battlefield drama mixes warm emotion with intense action...

Sing Movie Review

Sing Movie Review

The quality of the animation in this musical comedy may not be up to Pixar...

Jackie Movie Review

Jackie Movie Review

Rather than make a standard biopic about the most famous First Lady in American history,...

Split Movie Review

Split Movie Review

After a few badly received sci-fi blockbusters, M. Night Shyamalan returned to his earthier style...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.