Once Upon a Time in Anatolia | Chicago Reader

Once Upon a Time in Anatolia

Rated NR 150 minutes 2012

The title conjures up Sergio Leone, but this Turkish drama by Nuri Bilge Ceylan (Three Monkeys) has more in common with an actual bedtime story, in that you may be asleep before it's over. A trio of cars roll through the undulating countryside on a law-enforcement expedition; among the passengers are a prosecutor, a medical examiner, a police detective, and a handcuffed suspect who's promised to lead them to the buried remains of the man he murdered. Some 80 minutes of screen time have elapsed before they finally locate the corpse, at which point Ceylan brings them all back to their town, narrows his focus to the prosecutor and medical examiner, and introduces enough maddeningly obscure clues to undercut the police narrative of the crime. This last gambit goes a long way toward redeeming the movie, but not enough to compensate for the first half, which evokes the endurance tests of the Romanian new wave (e.g. The Death of Mr. Lazarescu) but lacks their hypnotic visual stasis. In Turkish with subtitles.

Film Credits

Director: Nuri Bilge Ceylan

Cast: Muhammet Uzuner, Yilmaz Erdogan, Taner Birsel, Ahmet Taylan, Firat Tanis, Ercan Kesal and Burhan Yildiz

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Once Upon a Time in Anatolia

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