memento_mori's Movie Review of Once Upon a Time in Anatolia ( Bir Zamanlar Anadolu'da )

Rating of

Once Upon a Time in Anatolia ( Bir Zamanlar Anadolu'da )

A quest to film wind for 2.5 hours.
memento_mori - wrote on 06/02/14

Sometimes the strangest flicks get chosen to win the biggest awards.

And the winner of the Grand Prix is: what.
This film makes itself out to be the chronicle of a few hours in the lives of diverse people working on the same case of murder, with no proper lead-in, no proper execution and a completely missing conclusion.

What intrigued me greatly was the way this film started after a mysterious prelude. A gorgeous wide-shot to introduce us into the setting and after that we were pretty much with the characters. If only they had been actual characters with clear motives and intentions, other than constant outlandish implications which detracted from the plot even more. This leads me to the question I was asking myself from around forty minutes in: How do any of the occurrences in this film link to each other or have some kind of familiar context or downright function in the story? It's one thing to leave things open to interpretation, but throwing your plot from one side of the room to the other and hoping that ends will meet in the end is plain annoying.

It's an extremely dialogue-driven movie, seeing as the first act consists of mainly migrating from place to place and spouting metaphysical chitchat in the wind. And yes, it does come off as pretentious as I make it out to be. The conversations could have at least had a purpose or throwback later in the story, because I cannot for the life of me figure out why they were there in the first place. They could have been interested had the topics had some sort of distinction to one another or particular symbolism. Maybe I missed it, but all I saw was the most unorganized policemen in the world and some doctor with a scarf squatting by fires and trampling up and down plateaus.

I appreciated some underlying themes from time to time, especially the one involving children having do carry the hardships for adults and having to answer for their sins, but in the end the mystery was even taken out of that, because one of the characters actually said it out loud. How about trying to imply a message instead of insisting all the time that you have one.
It really made me mad, because I couldn't decide if I wasn't left with anything by the end, or if I was left with everything, since every since is as painfully bleak and boring as the one before and after.

It's a pity that this film's gorgeous scenery and crisp sound couldn't give it a purpose of existence. I went out even less intrigued than I went in.
It's stale existentialism stretched into unnecessary endlessness and I will have none of it.

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