Friday, November 18, 2011
AFI FEST 2011: "Once Upon a Time in Anatolia"
ONCE UPON A TIME IN ANATOLIA (BIR ZAMANLAR ANADOLU'DA) (2011) ***1/2 157mins. D: Nuri Bilge Ceylan. Muhammet Uzuner, Yilmaz Erdogan,Taner Birsel, A. Mumtaz Taylan.
Over the course of a night and day, a group of officers, government agents and soldiers are taken across the countryside to find a body that the perpetrator buried but can't recall exactly where.
This is the setup for Ceylan's slow moving crime drama where the crime is not the focus of the film but all the characters involved. As they move from one similar location to another, the viewer serves as a fly on the wall as we listen to the conversations shared between the men. Some relate to the task at hand while others are completely off topic and amusing. If you were ever curious about what cops talk about while on a stakeout, this film may provide you with some answers.
Every character has a story to tell. How they interact with each other, be it the criminals or the officers, is interesting and engaging. About mid-way through the film, they stop off in a nearby town for a break and the conversations become more telling and their behavior begins to expose layers to the story that weren't immediately evident. And when it ends, it leaves unanswered questions along with questionable actions by some characters.
While it did feel a bit long, it is over 2 1/2 hours, it was still a decent crime drama that kept my interest.