This is a CIFF Capsule Review, Expect a Full Length Version at its Domestic Release.
2011s stunning Once Upon a Time in Anatolia used the crime genre as conduit for stirring humanist drama that had an eye on the philosophical, and it was as beautifully photographed as it was memorable. Writer/director Nuri Bilge Ceylan can’t repeat the success of Anatolia with his latest, Winter Sleep, a film that’s so long, rambling, and indulgent, the title acts as an ironic warning. We follow Mr. Ayudin, a makeshift king of a small village that secretly despises him, going through a series of conversations with his sister, wife, friends, and employees. It’s overblown cynicism is exhausting, and if the point is to show how everyone is prone to selfishness and delusion, it succeeded. Occasionally it stumbles into poetry, but only in the sort of way that a pontificating dinner companion occasionally says something worthwhile. Gorgeous visuals and nuanced performances—namely those by Haluk Bilginer, Melisa Sözen, and Nejet Isler, hold it together, but it’s a marked disappointment.
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