In the film "Tony Takitani," director Jun Ichikawa gives the viewer a sense of isolation and loneliness that one does not find with too many other directors. I have not read the short story that the film is based on, but one does not need to. With a third person narrative, and a minimal use of the actors' interaction, the film makes you feel very lonely. Which I am sure is exactly what the director was aiming for. The cinematography is beautiful, and at the same time, compliments the film, as Ichikawa's use of the camera gives you a feeling of the same loneliness that the protagonist, Tony Takitani (Issey Ogata) is going through. In fact, Tony Takitani wears his loneliness on his face. And every shot of him in the film is permeated with a sense of loneliness. You can sense it, and feel it.
I really liked the beginning of the film, where we see Tony Takitani's father, (also portrayed by Ogata) lying in a prison cell. The war has just come to an end, and the isolation of being imprisoned, alone and without the contact of others, is a great introduction to the film. As it is this films opening scene that gives the viewer a prelude to what the films main protagonist feels: A sense of isolation and loneliness. The third person narrative also works well by incorporating a dialogue between the viewer and the film, where we are further removed from the films protagonist--as we sense his self-isolation from those around him. This in turn, gives the film an even greater sense of loneliness: The very sense of isolation and being cut off from others that Tony Takitani himself feels.
The film is slow paced, and is only 75 minutes long. Tony Takitani is an illustrator who has always been alone. However, he meets a woman who will change his life. And although Tony is alone most of the time, it is due to his wife that he must now travel and go out to dinner. Not to mention the shopping with her. The films narrator even relates how they have gone to Europe, where she has purchased some of her clothes. So in one sense, although we are not privy to this, we know that Tony has gone places. His wife Eiko (Rie Miyazawa) is a compulsive shopper who desires the the best in fashion. But, as in life, there will be moments of tragedy. The film while slow and quiet, was worth the purchase to me. Sometimes these kind of films are needed. However, it will not appeal to some viewers, therefore, I recommend you rent it first, as it is not a film for everyone. [Stars: 3.5]