Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Once Upon a Time in Anatolia

A police convoy led by a prosecuting attorney and carrying a murder suspect travels on a dark and ominous night in search of a victim killed in a drunken rage and buried in the indistinguishable Turkish countryside. This frustrating, nightlong inquest will shed light not no much on the crime in question, but on the personal problems which have plagued its lead investigator. "Once Upon a Time in Anatolia" is a hypnotic movie from director Nuri Bilge Ceylan whose acclaimed "Climates" I found to be an exercise in tedium but here crafts another measured film, this one never releasing from its grip. Ceylon creates a murky, indelible setting which is gorgeously lit and populates it with actors who deliver their point no so much with words, as with their time-worn faces. The film also contains an incredible conclusion that comes out of nowhere and subtly but surely knocks the wind out of you. With more than a few feature films in current release with lengthy running times causing audiences to fidget with their mobile devices and make early retreats to the restroom, here's one of similar length and largely devoid of action which is nonetheless relentlessly consuming.