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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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2 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Little more than an aimless long drive in the dark

Author: SnoopyStyle
25 June 2014

Kenan and his mentally handicapped brother confess to a murder but they can't find the site. The local police drive the duo around in the middle of the night but just can't find anything. It becomes a night of aimless driving in a rural landscape. About halfway through the movie, the sun is finally up, and they find the body.

This is a movie of the monotony of a murder investigation. It's about the small stuff. It's not all high drama. There are a lot of long silent scenes. That's kind of the point. It's the in-between moments. It reminds me of a Tarantino movie where he takes the moments in between the big action to have some fun. Except in this, the dialog is pedestrian and boring. It revels in how boring the dialog becomes. The scenery has that desolate beauty. It's lovely to look at but it's too tiresome and long. It's not something I could recommend.

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0 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Great Acting, Poor Pace

Author: canolcay from United States
23 March 2012

First of all, I'm Turkish, and I watched this film on opening week of the Turkish Film Festival in Boston. I personally loved the subtle humor interspersed among the long 150 minutes, it really helped move the story along without making the audience fall asleep. The cinematography and acting was great too, kudos to all performers. However, the story line was very dark and the pace of the movie just didn't do it for me. I found myself yearning for some spice, some action, some pace, but was disappointed at every moment I expected it.

If you're going to a late night show and expecting some action, don't see this movie. If you're watching a movie on a casual Sunday afternoon, perhaps this might be a good choice for you.

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1 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Existential numbness

Author: info-18789 from Canada
18 March 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is a slow, beautifully shot, wonderfully acted movie.

Story wise, it is a meditation on life, death, cycle. Nothing is really resolved. Thankfully there are some beautiful moments of humanity, which counters the angst of the main characters who are more or less defeated characters, stunted in accepting their fate.

The film would have been excellent, had the director would have done with the last 30 minutes of the movie, where one has to endure an autopsy. While he spares us from the visual gore most of the time, the sickening sound of the cutting marred the beautiful images of this hymn of futility.

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3 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Disillusionment in the highlands of Interior Anatolia: Ceylan and his exquisite taste in cinematography- 1

Author: ocenkg from Turkey
7 October 2011

In reviewing contemporary cinema, a number of directors are easily distinguished in the way they tell their stories, they construct their plots and in the manners they design for their heroes/heroins. Nuri Bilge Ceylan is primarily an exquisite director that has proved his reputation in international independent cinema strongly and irreversibly.Particularly fashioned by his competent arts education together with his acute observation of Turkish society in influx destined to persist for decades to come, Ceylan has made controversial movies that are not equally embraced at his home country.In essence, I have seen once again that Ceylan does not primarily address to Turkish audience despite the stories told in his works are exclusively the contemporary antagonisms such as rural versus urban identities, sense of belonging to individuality versus community, "one person" solitude in partnerships, communication gap between generations, hypocrisy in Turkish society especially towards "namus" (English equivalence "honour") , permeable lines between tradition and challenge of globalization. Today I watched the movie with a number of people not more than 12 at an elegant movie theater in the cent rum.Indeed I wasn't expecting to see more people than that.I have realized how few people had taste of higher quality productions.Fewer, better indeed.. Regarding the story,I must admit that it was not strong, quite typical of Ceylan movies.Amidst the director's thirst for unearthing the ironies and chronic fallacies in Turkish society, the audience might be lost in labyrinths of events that are increasingly repetitive.Ceylan's devotion to symbols, stories and body language has its reflections on the movie as well.In comparison to his previous productions, this movie includes higher level of dialogs with greater depth. For instance, you start realizing that the director has acknowledged the importance of oral conversation.

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13 out of 34 people found the following review useful:

Unsatisfactory but contains one exquisite scene

Author: enaskitis-1 from Greece
14 December 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I side with those who found the film unsatisfactory.

Close-ups don't make for profundity and a slow pace must give something at the end that justifies it, but it didn't. There is humor alright, social and personal humor, and that was pleasant but not enough; there's much more heaviness than humor.

The night part is the more interesting, first because it has the exquisite scene with the village maiden serving tea (worthy of Rembrandt) and second comes first, so I had patience and good will. But these were not rewarded in the second half.

I may be retarded, but I didn't understand why at the end of the film the forensic doctor tampered with the autopsy. The film shows him staring intensely at the murdered man's wife and her son through the window as he does that, so what should I infer? It doesn't make much sense to me.

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5 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

Utterly pointless

Author: grrrumple from United Kingdom
26 July 2012

2.5 hours of totally uneventful, dragging, Turkish drama...

Some beautiful landscapes and editing - but the story is mind numbingly dull and just takes forever.

I appreciate a lot of foreign film and have no real issue with subs at all. But this just wasn't anywhere near visually interesting or thought provoking enough to appreciate on any level.

A couple of the characters are interesting; but again, their stories are just dull.

Not entirely sure how this film has been so highly rated... My advice would be to sit through the first 30 minutes - if you're not totally in love with the grading and don't find the characters simply too charming to leave, just stop watching. It gets no more interesting for the next 2 hours.

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5 out of 20 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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7 out of 26 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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9 out of 31 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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10 out of 33 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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