Once Upon a Time in Anatolia (2012)
In the dead of night, a group of men - including a police commissioner, a prosecutor, a doctor and a murder suspect - drive through the tenebrous Anatolian countryside, the serpentine roads and rolling hills lit only by the headlights of their cars. They are searching for a corpse, the victim of a brutal murder. The suspect, who claims he was drunk, can't remember where he buried the body. As the night draws on, details about the murder emerge and the investigators' own secrets and hypocrisies come to light. In the Anatolian steppes, nothing is what it seems; and when the body is found, the real questions begin. -- (C) Official Site … More
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Critic Reviews for Once Upon a Time in Anatolia
Ceylan's own growing reputation will, I hope, continue to grow. He uses the realistic film as an avenue to what lies around and beyond the realism.
It runs 157 minutes, and I can't say you don't feel them. You do - but in the way you would, reading a very good book in an uncomfortable chair.
A movie of such dark, smoldering intensity that it's easy to forget that half of it takes place in near darkness.
A police procedural as existential inquiry, set in a remote dreamscape of mystery and foreboding.
Ceylan's visual style is less heightened, more down-to-earth than the more stylised 'Three Monkeys', but still some of the night-time scenes look like careful paintings, such is the precision of their lighting and composition.
Ceylan doesn't slap us with big dramatic moments, but allows us to live along with his characters as things occur to them.
This is a very slow-moving movie, but it also has its attractions, such as its beautiful cinematography by Gökhan Tiryaki, particularly the wide angle shots showing the vastness of the Turkish landscape.
The literal "once upon a time" of a series of disillusioned men who no longer think about the future because they obsess over the past.
It's a masterpiece crime story that tells us as much about searching for the truth in modern Turkey as it does about violent criminals and those who prosecute them.
You can't expect a slow burn drama to payoff spectacularly unless it burns slowly, and this is precisely what Turkish auteur Nuri Bilge Ceylan orchestrates in this masterful murder-mystery.
It's a unique film that is best enjoyed knowing very little about it - so go and take a look
Mesmerising cinema... This is a film that deserves your attention. It may be slow and the plot points obtuse, but the rewards are great
Once Upon a Time in Anatolia is a film that stays on the mind days after the credits role. While quiet in tone it is rich in character and atmosphere.
Nuri Bilge Ceylan uses a matter of life and death to look at the mundane, human nature, and the mystical effect of women on men in his sixth feature film, a masterpiece.
The pace is sometimes grindingly slow, and at more than two-and-a-half hours, Ceylan's exploration of its characters' shifting views on the truth can become wearying.
With its wide-open setting and taciturn, macho characters, it's a film that earns the right to use the "Once Upon a Time" title that Sergio Leone made so perversely famous.
The denouement offers a satisfactory conclusion to a drama that, in its scope, rigour and discipline, confirms Ceylan as a contemporary master.
Ceylan doesn't offer much in the way of resolution, but his oblique approach does cumulatively imply much about ripple effect the crime has on all those who come into contact with it.
Audience Reviews for Once Upon a Time in Anatolia
This beautifully shot Turkish film puts a lot of responsibility on the viewer - it asks you to be patient and to find a point within seeming pointlessness. A simple (and arguably overlong) tale that seems to take place in rural Turkey but actually takes place solely within the psyches of its characters, audiences are asked to forget what they know about film narrative and find out more about human interactions and how people deal with the truth and accept that the truth may never be knowable.More
Mysterious and beautiful. It really is a thing of beauty, every shot looks like an award winning photograph. The premise is simple but things are never quite what they seem, just when you think you can shout 'Stereotype' you'll find quite the opposite is true. I'm so glad Nuri Bilge Ceylan is back directing, his film Distant (or Uzak) is one of my favourites and really re-ignited my passion for film. This film deserves all the praise it gets.More
to call this a police procedural or crime drama seems wrong but i don't know how else one would describe it in genre terms. it's gorgeous, mysterious and rewards patienceMore
'Once Upon a Time in Anatolia'. Slow burning, but oh-so-absorbing! A most beautiful look at the mundane that is life.
Every frame of that first hour and a bit is a painting waiting to be sold. Exquisite composition and cinematography, with many a long take emphasising the beauty of the rolling hills against the slow-moving people and cars.
Every take is a patient one. Life isn't quick cuts and dramatic reveals. We're forced [I mean it in the best possible way, but others will say it's in the worst] to experience the banality these men go through.
Clearly this is masterful screen-writing and direction, because I was leaning forward, on the edge of my seat the whole way through, while the sighs and fidgeting echoed around me.
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