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Marina Antunes [Film Festival 10.22.08] movie review drama



After hearing much praise for Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s Climates, I thought it best to catch up with the Turkish director’s most recent offering and though I’m not disappointed at having seen it, Three Monkeys left a lot to be desired.

The film begins with a hit and run. In the next scene we see a man, Eyüp, taking a telephone call in the middle of the night and we soon come to see the relationship between the two. The man responsible for the accident is a politician and he’s called his driver to ask him for a favour: take the fall for the accident and I’ll reward you well. Eyüp agrees to take the fall of his boss’ hit and run, going to jail and leaving his wife and son alone for a long stretch of time but when he is eventually released from prison, the situation is dire; son has gotten himself into a load of trouble and his wife has had an affair with the politician Eyüp went to prison to protect.


It’s not as convoluted as it sounds since Ceylan’s story is merely a vehicle to get at the emotions of the characters. Unfortunately the film fails to connect the audience with said emotions. Though it features excellent performances and is gorgeously shot with the setting and visuals paralleling the internal turmoil Eyüp is suffering through, the film failed to make me feel that turmoil. Yes, it was shown to me (and beautifully to boot) but it was distant, like something happening in a dream, or in this case a nightmare, rather than reality and though I don’t expect to find myself relating to the characters in every film, the lack of a relateable characters in this case, seriously hindered my enjoyment of Ceylan’s film.

Though gorgeous in its expressionist approach to the story, I was neither entertained nor in any way moved by Three Monkeys and the blandness of the story started to wear thin 60 minutes in with an additional 50 to go. Though beautiful, I must admit I’ve lost interest in tracking down Ceylan’s previous films. Here’s hoping the next one is more successful.


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