Winter Sleep

Director: Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Year Released: 2014
Rating: 2.0

A former actor-turned-hotel owner, landlord and blogger Aydin (Haluk Bilginer) spends his harsh winter in Turkey interacting with miserable tenants who can't make payments, his recently-divorced sister, his deeply unhappy young wife and his 'friends.' The excellent cinematography (courtesy of frequent collaborator Gökhan Tiryaki) contributes mightily to the claustrophobic atmosphere - the frigid, isolated conditions reflect Aydin's steely, curmudgeonly disposition - although Ceylan's script is a major issue: not only does he not write his female characters very well (ironic, too, since his wife Ebru collaborated on the script), making them weak and unable to match wits with Aydin, but the protracted scenes of 'discussion' are more or less reduced to monologues by Aydin ... while those who oppose his perspective are essentially laughed off. The movie's golden moment belongs to Aydin's wife Nihal (Melisa Sözen), who tries to sneak money to one of Aydin's poor tenants in act three - unfortunately, Nihal's compassion is rejected and she drives back to her husband's hotel defeated. To even suggest Aydin's changed by any of these encounters or events is ludicrous: it's three and a half hours of an undefeated man retaining his title.