Nuri Bilge Ceylan is truly a director to watch out for. As the second film of his which I’ve seen, I have to say that this, his latest film, is remarkable.
It follows the procession of police and associated acts as they bring a criminal around the underdeveloped but ancient region of Anatolia in Turkey. Yet this definitely is not your grandmother’s fast action criminal investigation show. Most of the time takes place in the waits between spots as they go from place to place searching for it. In this time, we are able to watch the characters interact, creating a fascinating atmospheric tension which is not immediate, but not remote either.
The long takes put pressure upon the actors, and the acting is phenomenal. Each actor seems to breathe his or her character. And the characters are believable, realistic, absolutely unperfect humans; in the time we spend with them, which begins to feel at times like the whole night and next morning in which the film takes place, we begin to get to know them as they get to know each other. Yet this isn’t to say it ever gets “boring”, to use the hated phrase; rather, there is always an air of mystery, and the amazing visuals are continuous.
To clarify: the photography is stunning. It abounds with natural lighting, or lighting which cleverly utilizes practicals (such as car headlights). The vast landscapes in which our characters interact as they continue their search profoundly effect the atmosphere of the film, as does the scenery as it goes from twilight to night to day. The time of day seems to be the divisor of the film into parts.
The film is enormously sympathetic to humanity in all of its flaws and limits, and quietly investigates several aspects of it. The act of killing, power structures, denial, lost love, friendship, working relationships, normal people doing their jobs…
I cannot suggest seeing this film more.