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Bir zamanlar Anadolu'da
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Reviews & Ratings for
Once Upon a Time in Anatolia More at IMDbPro »Bir zamanlar Anadolu'da (original title)

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17 out of 40 people found the following review useful:

A great first half which is equal to 90 minutes approx. but an incomplete and at times aversive last half prevent it from being a fully satisfying film ultimately,

Author: DoksanlarSinemasi from Türkiye (The Turkish Republic)
26 September 2011

It seems that the first half of Bir Zamanlar Anadolu'da was great in every sense, it was like Nuri Bilge Ceylan, his wife and his friends or his crew had attempted some new editing methods and some ideas escort it and they have delivered it successfully. There is a mysterious and sometimes creepy story, the cast is exciting, Nuri Bilge Ceylan's direction and photography are the same as always, great, the editing is flawless, but a few flaws in the script and the last half of the film prevent it from being a masterpiece. Nuri Bilge Ceylan knows the fact that only a beautiful photography and mesmerizing images are not enough to make a movie good, at least I hope he does, because simply a good movie is a combination of a lot of elements. Therefore, this time he put much more dialogs in his movie, which support the characters and the film itself. We can say that the movie is divided into two parts, night and day, so the night part is excellent, there are some unforgettable shots also, briefly an unforgettable cinematic and artistic journey, but when the movie comes to the end, the problems start to occur as well. The second half starts by an excavation sequence, a few village shots and events follow it, so far so good, but then a long, very long 'medical' sequence (I used that term to avoid spoilers) starts which ruins the movie sort of. There are several reasons for that. Firstly, that sequence should have been the development part or should be just a transition part instead of being the final part. If we consider the 'night part' (the first half) as the introduction, then the second half ('the day part') should have been the development, it means, there should have been a conclusion part, in other words, a third part should have been added and the movie should have been a little longer (for example 180 minutes, a complete three hours) However, then the movie would have been too long for some people? All these are because I felt like the movie was incomplete after a very, very long introduction. I would want to see Yılmaz Erdoğan's character more on the screen for example. Honestly, I would want to see some other characters more on the screen after that "exhausting night and day". Especially their psychological conditions after the event. By the way, about Yılmaz Erdoğan's character, may be the character's personality is not very suitable for Yılmaz Erdoğan's character, himself, but that's OK. Secondly, after a very detailed and very long introduction part (the first half, 90 minutes), the second half was like just a long sequence rather than a satisfied second half. This was the key problem of the film! Like the director's previous film, Three Monkeys, Bir Zamanlar Anadolu'da suffers from 'plot insufficiency' in the second half. Two or three scenes or sequences become the development and the conclusion. Because, too much focus on this medical event by Nuri Bilge Ceylan. And thirdly, Nuri Bilge Ceylan gets his movie ended by an aversive and highly disturbing final and I have no idea why he has done that! What were all those sounds and nauseous moments? In my opinion, this beautiful film should have ended by a beautiful shot, not by some annoying sounds after those images. As a result, Bir Zamanlar Anadolu'da is a must see film for the fans of the director and art house film lovers, but it could have been much better by a more powerful and longer second half.

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4 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Overrated....... boring.........

Author: Sweet Caspor from India
17 March 2012

I was so disappointed after watching this movie that I couldn't resist myself from writing the review. It is a long boring never ending sorry tell tale about so many peoples and so many things that I lost the sense of direction at all and at the end it never felt like it ended there. It started as a intriguing plot of a victim's body search by bunch of laws and outlaws together, the movie did keep the sense of suspense and thrill while the search was going on at night but soon lost the steam as soon as dawn comes nearer. By the end I stopped caring about the dead person, since by then I'v been made to watch people discussing pasteurized curd, apple taking its newtonion course of falling off the tree and flowing down the stream (camera pauses there for few seconds, probably the crew'd gone for a short break), young lady bringing candles and ppl hopelessly pondering over her, people walking there from here and somewhere else from there , doing this and that etc etc.... When the dead body was dug out I could clearly see the paunchy guy breathing heavily (his fat belly oscillating up and down), director ? editor ? cameraman ? next time don't let the actors playing dead laying under the direct sun as you people don't have sense of emergency anywhere, at least seems as of now. Even at the climax scene, the doctor's assistant cribbed about the old tools and bragged for electric saw, C'mon why why ? director should have kept the last scene related about what it served us at the start. The ending was absolutely absurd (doctor rigging the autopsy report, again why ? ). Damn so lost he seems...... I always have strong fascination about non English cinema and they almost always justified their claim of fame. This one is just a long episode of some daily soap never ending and never ends .... best avoid....

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5 out of 20 people found the following review useful:


Author: rod-ruger from United States
26 December 2012

This thing is a snoozer. You'd hear more interesting dialogue in your local dive bar, at least up to the point I ejected the DVD. If you have patience, you may arrive at a point where the film becomes interesting. Let me know at which minute that occurs so that I can skip to it. The language is, I assume, Turkish which is no problem as most American viewers are fluent in that language as were judges at the Cannes (France) film hootenanny. There was one fascinating discussion in a police car about buffalo yogurt that I would've hated to have missed. English subtitles - maybe it was a terrific discussion in Turkish. But, still, yogurt? You can tell if you are watching an artsy film...each scene is interminable, camera scans slow. My cat is dying slowly, but more interesting to watch than this movie. Sadder, too.

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8 out of 27 people found the following review useful:

dull slow boring finally pulled the plug

Author: orocolorado from United States
31 August 2012

Thank heavens for some warning reviews on IMDb.... I watched this movie for about 45 minutes and as the same 3 cars were still travelling down a dirt road at night stopping and starting looking for a body-- I thought it best to look at some of the reviews.

Fortunately there were some accurate ones about this dull movie. I even moved the little marker along (netflix streaming) to get a peak at future scenes and they all looked bleak boring filled with unattractive characters....

How did this thing get rated so high over all!


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8 out of 28 people found the following review useful:

Boring beyond Anatolia

Author: xpanther2005 from Ohio, USA
15 March 2012

BORING. This is not artsy, there is no beauty in the work as a whole, There's no complicated enigma that needs further reflection to appreciate and understand...nothing!!! Boring dialogue, with lines being repeated for no reason other than to prolong our agony(a lot of "what?" and "what was that?"). Dull characters grouped together without real chemistry.

If the director trying to say that "real" policeman in Turkey are boring and their conversations are just like that, then why shoot it? Show us something interesting. Otherwise, I'll make you pay $12 to watch a video of my family having dinner!! 2 1/2 hours could have been edited to a 15min short that at least would have been bearable to watch. This crab is a time waster.

Avoid, avoid, avoid.

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18 out of 57 people found the following review useful:

The first movie that ever made me sleep.

Author: mateuskn from Brazil
26 January 2012

I usually search and watch movies that get high ratings on IMDb, simply because it's a trustworthy source of information about movies.

When I saw 8,5 rating on this movie I said "Hey, I NEED to watch this!" and rushed to it!

Now, I gotta say, I've never slept watching a movie before. EVER. I'm a film lover... and this movie made me sleep.

I think that the high ratings are from people who think that if they give a high rate to a "not common" movie, it means that they are cult and intelligent. They are wrong. This movie is defined by one word: BORING.

Maybe, if I didn't see the ratings and had no expectations on this movie, I would give it a 4 or a 5. But I had high expectations and because of that, this movie disappointed me. One word: Boring. One (my) rating: 1.

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47 out of 242 people found the following review useful:

The Aesthetics of Boredom

Author: OttoVonB from Switzerland
21 May 2011

A police crew and a doctor accompany a suspected murderer and the local prosecutor on a night-long trek through the local countryside in search of a buried body. What follows is a slow procedural and insight into these men's down-time and how they bring humanity to their surreal lives.

If you've seen "Silent Light" - another Cannes delicacy - there is little to say about "Once Upon a Time in Anatolya", except that it lacks the former's ethnographic value. Where Silent Light emphasized the emptiness of these people's lives - with varying degrees of success or failure, depending on your own tastes - OUATIA merely seems to replicate a formula that "worked" and distances us unnecessarily from what could have been gripping and intriguing characters. The fact that we spend more time on pointless wide shots, shots of a car dashboard or a dirty window than on the actors' interesting faces speaks volumes about the missed opportunities this approach creates. Buried under the ponderous style is an intriguing story dying to be told.

More damning still, the film feels like a short film plot stretched past the 2 and a half hour mark, where we are subjected to scenes that baffle by their mere presence: every time someone moves from point A to point B we are made to watch, and observe moments that would have been cut in any other film.

The film is ultimately undone by relying on the principle that if you watch emptiness or something meaningless for long enough, you will fill in blanks yourself by projecting subjective meaning... or just walk away and find better ways to spend your time.

Sloppy film-making, and all the worse for the compelling film it could have been.

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