Once Upon a Time in Anatolia (Nuri Bilge Ceylan, 2012)

What's it about? Set over a night and a day, this is a Turkish drama which sees two prisoners escorted into the Anatolian countryside by the police to find the body of the man they have murdered.  However, the prisoners are hazy about where they buried the man and as the frustrating search drags on, the experience affects each of the men in different ways.

Is it any good? I hadn't bothered with this because I didn't really think I would like it. But many people whose opinion I value said it was good, so I took the plunge. And guess what? I didn't like it. I concede it is trying to do something different with the crime genre and it's certainly well made and well shot, with a couple of good moments. However, all the philosophical dialogue in the world can't hide the fact that nothing happens. Slowly. In its attempts to be something more than a conventional police procedural, it ends up being too long, too meandering, too existentially waffly and, ultimately, too boring.

I don't trust you. What do others think? Well, it seems I'm in the minority in this one as it has been highly praised in other quarters. So what am I missing that others have taken from it? It's "a police procedural as existential inquiry, set in a remote dreamscape of mystery and foreboding", trumpets the LA Times. Really? "Complex and sophisticated, this genre-defying crime story is spellbinding viewing", gushes Empire magazine. Hmmmm. "Sensuous and cerebral, profane and metaphysical, 'empty' and abundant......a new level of achievement", gibbers the Village Voice. Oh, come on! How can so many people be wrong!? Reminds me of the time I was in a marching band and I was the only one in step. But wait! What's this? Looks like another band member in step. "It is colossally, memorably and audaciously boring, but if you stick with it - and I am not advising this - something may happen" warns the San Francisco Chronicle. Well, I knew me and the Chronicle couldn't both be wrong. 

What does the Fonz think? Once upon a time, there was..zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

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