Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
100 Greatest Videos Games Of All Time
Robin Williams: The Big Interview
Empire Visits The Hobbit's VFX Team
Nick Frost:
My Movie Life

The World's End star's pick of the flicks
4Music's Size Does Matter
Introducing your new favourite app
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
18
Cast
Vivian Wu
Yoshi Oida
Ewan McGregor.
Directors
Peter Greenaway.
Screenwriters
Peter Greenaway.
Running Time
126 minutes

LATEST FILM REVIEWS
Million Dollar Arm
4 Star Empire Rating
Into The Storm
2 Star Empire Rating
Police Officer's Wife, The
2 Star Empire Rating
Art Party
1 Star Empire Rating
God Help The Girl
3 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Two Days, One Night
5 Star Empire Rating
Some Like It Hot
5 Star Empire Rating
A Hard Day's Night
5 Star Empire Rating
Boyhood
5 Star Empire Rating

The Pillow Book
Greenaway's blurred tale of a young Japanese woman and her sensual/sexual explorations and deviations


submit to reddit


Plot
Nagiko is inspired by a thousand-year-old Pillow Book to compile her own existential inventories. Out to avenge her author father Nagiko sends his publisher 13 "books" written on the live skin of her lovers


Review
The latest movie from Britain's most cryptic auteur proves, true to form, a tough nut to crack. Peter Greenaway has crafted an esoteric canon of stylised films - from The Draughtsman's Contract to The Baby Of Macon - that trade on wit, technical innovation and his background as a painter. But as he still wears his inaccessibility on his sleeve, you'll come away none the wiser as to what this latest effort is actually getting at.

Here both Greenaway's strengths and weaknesses are on show as he toys with the viewers' capacity to ingest blurring metaphors and convoluted content. Nagiko (Wu) is inspired by a thousand-year-old Pillow Book (a journal penned by a lady-in-waiting that tells of her general love of life), to compile her own existential inventories. Out to avenge her author father, who has paid off his publisher with sexual favours, Nagiko sends the publisher 13 "books" written on the live skin of her lovers - including a Sumo wrestler and a multilingual translator, Jerome (McGregor, cockily wielding calligraphy quills and flashing, full-frontal, his so-called "instrument of pleasure").

The ensuing drama proves to be a sensual affair, awash with broad strokes of archetypal Greenaway symbolism as well as predictable enough bouts of violence. But the skin-as-paper analogies fast wear thin, and the director cuts the audience no slack, not fleshing out the characters or throwing any light on Japanese rites, leaving a muddled riot of ideas.


Verdict
A muddled riot of ideas as Greenaway stretches his blurring metaphors and convoluted content to extremes.


Reviewed by Leah Jewett

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

Your Reviews

Average user rating for The Pillow Book
Empire Star Rating

Greenaways triumph

yet another excellent film that i have come to expect from someone like Greenaway. Its all here the arty stuff ect but one problem i have is that can Ewan Mcgregor please cover up because i have seen his private parts in 6 of his films and i have seen them to much. If you dont mind his balls then watch this film its excellent. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by OMGWTFBBQ at 21:01, 03 July 2006 | Report This Post


SPECIAL FEATURE
The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time EMPIRE READERS' POLL: THE 301 GREATEST MOVIES OF ALL TIME
You turned out in your hundreds and thousands, and here are the results... Browse the full list


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
Video: Daniel Radcliffe Talks What If...
On Gordon Ramsay, swearing and date movies

The 24 Best Film-Related Ice Bucket Challenges
The viral craze that won’t quit takes in some of Hollywood’s finest

Who Shot First? The Complete List Of Star Wars Changes
An exhaustive chronology of George Lucas' post-release tinkering

Gamescom 2014: The 10 Most Exciting Games
Zombies! Guns! Tombs! Sheep! Watch the trailers right here...

Who Is Mack Bolan? Your Guide To Cinema's New Action Man
As Bradley Cooper lines up to star as the hero, here's your handy guide to his story so far

Film Studies 101: A Film Buff's Guide To Movie Movements
Everything you need to know about cinema's key groups

Lists Of Our Lifetime: Empire's 25 Greatest Battles
From smalltime scraps to epic struggles, these are the conflicts that have stunned cinema since 1989

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 6 Issues Of Empire For Only £15!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 6 issues of Empire for just £15!
Get the world's greatest movie magazine delivered straight to your door! Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)