Once Upon a Time in Anatolia isn't an action packed, fast paced film. It is unhurried like a gradual climb of a mountain. It doesn't tell you everything you should think and feel, it slowly uncovers itself and allows you to discover it in your own way. Directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan, this film is a journey through an intricate world of tragedy, truth and human emotions.
The story follows a group of men who travel through the Anatolian countryside in search of a dead body. There is the prosecutor, the police commissioner, the doctor, the murder suspects and a few others who drive through the night to find the location of the murder victim.
The most fascinating part of this film isn't the search of the body or even finding it, it's the complicated, interesting characters that develop through small talk and the little anecdotes told during their periods of waiting or driving.
It is quite uncommon to find films today that have such real characters. I mean real in the sense that you have a first impression of them however as time goes on you penetrate through layers of their personalities and their complex back-stories.
At times, there doesn't seem to be a lot going on however there's much more than what is on the surface. If you go to watch this film, go with a clear mind and let yourself be immersed in it completely because if you do, you will come away with much more than film, you will come away with a greater understanding of the human psyche and relationships.
Its not all seriousness and somber moods, there are bursts of dry humour scattered throughout. Just like in life, even when a situation is pensive, it's important not to take it all too seriously.
Once Upon a Time in Anatolia is an epic film to say the least, sitting at two and half hours, it's a commitment but not one that should be missed. If you like foreign films that have much more to give than the average blockbuster, this one is for you.
Film details: In Cinemas 5 July 2012 Turkey/Bosnia-Herzogovina | 2011 | 157 minutes | Colour | Turkish with English subtitles| Rating: M (Coarse language and mature themes)
Cast: Doctor Cemal: Muhammet Uzuner, Commissar Naci: Yilmaz Erdogan, Prosecutor Nusret: Taner Birsel, Driver Arab Ali: Ahmet Mumtaz Taylan, Suspect Kenan: Firat Tanis, Mukhtar: Ercan Kesal