Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
Empire's New Tom Cruise Cover
The Jameson Empire Awards 2014
Vote: The Greatest 301 Movies Of All Time!
Rebecca Hall:
My Movie Life

The actress picks the movies that shaped her
Mountain Dew Green Screen
Register Now to see X-MEN First Class!
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
An Episode In The Life Of An Iron Picker
4 Star Empire Rating
Cupcakes
3 Star Empire Rating
You & Me Forever
4 Star Empire Rating
Looking For Light: Jane Brown
3 Star Empire Rating
Informant, The
2 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Rebel Without A Cause
5 Star Empire Rating
Calvary
5 Star Empire Rating
Wake In Fright
5 Star Empire Rating
Stranger By The Lake
5 Star Empire Rating
Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?
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



CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
The Making Of Locke: A Filmmaker's Journey
Steven Knight takes us through six pitstops (via Heston Services)

The 10 Most Exciting Movies At Cannes 2014
Empire's pick of the Croisette's finest

Tom Hardy: A Viewer's Guide
The essential, the recommended, the one for the fans... and the one to avoid

Ten Things To Know About The Spooks Movie
Under the hood of The Greater Good

Who’s In Spider-Man’s Sinister Six?
A bluffer’s guide to the planned spin-off from the Amazing Spider-films

14 YouTube Videos Every Game Of Thrones Fan Should Have Watched By Now
From goats singing the theme tune to every death in under three minutes

Hollywood's Biggest Names On Their Favourite Films
Stars and directors like Nolan, Whedon, Wright and Ford on the films that inspire them

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save money on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get Limited Edition Collectable X-Men Art Cards

Subscribe today and get 6 issues of Empire plus a set of collectable X-Men Art Cards for only £20!

Subscribe today

Get 12 Issues Of Empire For Just £25
Receive limited edition subscribers-only covers every month 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)