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

New Movies

Wind River Movie Review

Wind River Movie Review

After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into...

The Vault Movie Review

The Vault Movie Review

Filmmakers Dan Bush and Conal Byrne attempt a mash-up of a frantic heist movie with...

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

The 2012 Canadian comedy Goon was one of those surprising little films that snuck up...

Detroit Movie Review

Detroit Movie Review

After The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal reteam to...

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Good news: Steven Soderbergh's well-publicised retirement from directing only lasted about four years. He's back...

American Made Movie Review

American Made Movie Review

An enjoyably freewheeling tone and Tom Cruise's star wattage combine to make this an entertaining...

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

It's been a decade since Al Gore's wake-up-call documentary won the Oscar. And here he...

Advertisement
The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

It really doesn't matter that this movie is utterly ridiculous, because the central pairing of...

Final Portrait Movie Review

Final Portrait Movie Review

A relaxed, amusing true story about noted Swiss painter and sculptor Alberto Giacometti, this sharply...

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Finnish artist Tuoko Laaksonen used the name "Tom of Finland" as he drew explicit illustrations...

A Ghost Story Movie Review

A Ghost Story Movie Review

Filmmaker David Lowery reunites the stars from his offbeat Western Ain't Them Bodies Saints for...

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

From the co-director of John Wick, this similarly styled action romp puts Charlize Theron front...

Girls Trip Movie Review

Girls Trip Movie Review

This movie's premise basically sounds like The Hangover with added black girl power. But it's...

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

There's so much manic energy in this animated action comedy that it can't help but...

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.