"Why should I tell you about it?" asks 19th-century French merchant Herve Joncour (Michael Pitt) of his tale of unrequited love. "Why now? Maybe I just need to tell someone about it." Canadian director Francois Girard's logy adaptation of Italian novelist Alessandro Baricco's slim, internationally best-selling book never begins to answer Joncour's question: It's dull, opaque and stunningly unengaging.
1861: Pressured by his stern father to pursue a military career, young Joncour sees escape and adventure in local textile entrepreneur Baldabiou's (Alfred Molina) offer of a fine fee in exchange for an arduous and illegal trip to Japan's interior in search of ...