Once Upon a Time in Anatolia

Director: Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Year Released: 2011
Rating: 2.0

Several law-enforcement officials and a physician travel around the barren Turkish countryside with two criminals to find a body they buried but can't recall the precise location - the 'hunt' for the body takes up the majority of the running time. Ceylan's images - though lovely in themselves - are hallow and he's playing that coy filmmaking game where The Viewer is placed on the proverbial weight bench and given the duty of providing all the heavy lifting: he occasionally throws out a Symbolic Moment (a beautiful glowing girl serving beverages, blood on the cheek of the ethically-corrupted doctor) and a handful of 'police procedural' blurbs (the victim was buried alive! he wasn't wearing underwear! the alleged murderer has to 'earn' his cigarette!) in order to prompt post-film debate and/or interpersonal rumination - it all appears to me to be intellectually hazy and lazy, demanding focus and patience but not rewarding the attentiveness. Saying the landscapes 'represent the characters' barren personal lives' sounds nice on paper, but it's another to develop that on screen. On the positive side, the performances are uniformly good and provide just the right amount of necessary brooding.