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Having read the novel, I came to Out with certain preconceptions, and was deeply disappointed by this rendering of Kirino's work. Of course, perhaps those who did not read the novel might enjoy the film more, but a straw poll suggests that is not the case. The actors go for caricature and none of the nuanced layers that make the novel so rich are present here. By way of example, there is the casting of Harada as Masako. In the novel, this is a woman who goes toe-to-toe with moneylenders and stalkers while trying to hold a family together and be a friend to people who don't deserve her. At the end of the novel, she slugs it out with a killer and holds her own. She is a big boned, heavyweight bruiser of a woman who endures much mentally and physically. Harada, pleasing on the eye, is all wrong for the part. It is not her fault; she just isn't the right type. There is an irony here - the novel criticises the triteness and shallow money-obsession of present day Japan, and this film exemplifies it by casting cute actresses in roles they are not fit for.
This is a diluted, sentimentalised, scrubbed up version of the novel that comes across as a made- for-TV Tuesday night filler. The foreigners who play a pivotal role in the novel are excised. The butchery that is so visceral in prose is never shown. One wonders what Kirino made of it - probably not very much, like the rest of the Japanese public. The novel is crying out for better treatment than this.
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