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NEW Three Monkeys (DVD)

DVD

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Post-Noir Masterpiece Nov. 25 2009
By William Shriver - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Like many great films noir, THREE MONKEYS amounts to a lot of style attached to a slight amount of plot. Whatever anyone else thinks, I consider that to be praise.

A sleepy driver hits a pedestrian. The driver is a politician with an election pending and, with a phone call in the middle of the night, he persuades his personal driver to serve the prison sentence for him. This leads to disruptions in the driver's family, all of which brings about a melodramatically overwrought sequence of events.

It is a B-noir plot from the forties, with a difference: Nuri Bilge Ceylan's screenplay and direction has an intriguing way of revealing action and consequences. He makes us work, a little. Sometimes we see only actions following each other, with no hint of what connects them. Other times we see only the "dead" time in the spaces between the actions, and we have to infer what happened.

There is an enormous breadth to Ceylan's cinematic knowledge. From DISTANT, we know of Tarkovsky's influence; from CLIMATES, we saw his fondness for Tati, among others. Here, in THREE MONKEYS, it is Jean-Pierre Melville that comes to mind, especially BOB LE FLAMBEUR, which was once described as a movie about "how gangsters brush their teeth." But Ceylan has reached the point where his influences have become so uniquely swirled together, all you can truly say about him is that he is an original.

Is THREE MONKEYS a highly-stylized movie? You bet. If there is some complaint about that, I'm afraid I don't understand. It seems like complaining that Sam Fuller and Fritz Lang are overly-stylized.

From my first viewing of DISTANT, I knew I was in the presence of a master filmmaker, but I never would have guessed he would go in this direction. Movies ought to flabbergast us more often than they do. I'm happy to say I have been flabbergasted.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Remarkable Nov. 15 2009
By maciora - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
I was hooked by this film. It's a compelling story: a selfish flight from personal responsibility forms the seed for a thin vine of desire which eventually cracks the foundations of a working class family. The casting and performances are first rate - Hatice Aslan as the wife and mother, wields a striking, classical beauty and maintains a haunted presence. The film revolves around and rests on her complex ambivalence.

As much as I love this film and wish to celebrate Mr. Ceylan's familiar, gorgeous imagery, I believe that the visuals here occasionally draw focus through a few overwrought visual touches than actually serve the film. This is a much more arresting-looking film than either "Distant" or "Climates." Mr. Ceylan's typically stripped-down narrative is well served by his flawless photographer's eye for composition - his pacing is perfect, echoing the authority of a master like Abbas Kairostami.

However, in a few instances I found the use of filters/post-production/visual effects distracting. In a lesser filmmaker, or one whose stories are less contemplative one could ignore these touches. In this story it made the narrative feel perhaps less important than the images. Or there was less concern about the tale than taking certain visual risks. Whatever the reason, I fell out of the story at those moments, noticing the filmmaker is tweaking the image, albeit to create something remarkable. I don't wish to imply that these rare moments ruined a great film; simply that it made me care differently.

All this points to a more complicated discussion about photographing emotional states and capturing that indefinable, relational electricity between characters, which ultimately is very personal. Mr. Ceylan is wrestling with these ideas here.
On it's own terms, "Three Monkeys" remains a powerful film and stylistic risks aside, I've enjoyed watching it several times.
I highly recommend it.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An emotional family burden July 25 2010
By  R I Z Z O  - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
If you are a viewer who is willing to absorb a movie that captures the emotional feelings, the body expressions, facial expressions, anxiety, despair and brooding moods, then you will enjoy this. If you need action to guide you, then this may not be for you.

There is no soundtrack that generally sets the mood and tone and pace of the film. It is up to the quality of acting to leads us to thinking, to know the characters, and to feel for them. Therefore, the pace appears slower, and you are one to determine how to utilize that pacing.

The Turkish film (2008) is about a politician who has left the scene of a traffic accident and could not jeopardize his political career. He asks his chauffer Eyup to take the rap, a charge of manslaughter and serve time in prison and Eyup's family will be rewarded with a large sum of money when he gets out. Evenutally, the consequences for such a deal wear upon the family, the wife Hacer, the young adult son, Ismail.

You will not see any action or damatic physical scenes, as those appear off screen, and the dialogue is minimal. Director Nuri Bilge Ceylan, said in an interview that it is his habit "to keep chipping away at chat " and he doesn't like talky scenes." Therefore, the result is to focus on the silence and lingering shots of tormented or anguish faces. This method, is why some call the film very slow paced.

According to the director, the title comes from the notion of three monkeys, one who refuses to hear, one who refuses to see and one who refuses to speak. The three family members comprise the tale of monkeys being the family members who become involved in such an evil and overwhelming conspiracy that it eventually leads to their demise.

The film gets you to think, would you partake in such a conspiracy, not thinking out the consequences or what burden your family is able to carry. ....Rizzo.
5.0 out of 5 stars Our Raw Humanity And Its Few Dark Shades Oct. 27 2012
By Kafishna - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
I will have a very simple review;
1. It's an excellent movie.
2. The camera work is superb.
3. If you like acting, not puppet shows as directed by a puppeteer, you will like it.
4. If you you want to go in depth of your primitive psyche that deals with your animal instincts of love, hate, revenge, your angels and demons, you will like it.
Watch it, with patience.
3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Let Melodrama Be Melodrama. Dec 19 2009
By mirasreviews - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
When I try to find words to describe Nuri Bilge Ceylan's "Three Monkeys", "contemplative melodrama" comes to mind. That seems like a contradiction in terms, but it is representative of the incongruity that undermines this film's potential. At the center of the drama is a working class Turkish family. Eyup (Yavuz Bingol) is a driver for Servet (Ercan Kesel), who is running for political office. When Servet strikes and kills a pedestrian on a country road one night, he asks Eyup to take the blame in exchange for a cash payment. Eyup agrees and goes to prison for 9 months, while his son Ismail (Rifat Sungar) looks half-heartedly for a job, and his wife Hacer (Hatice Aslan) finds other distraction.

The plot is pure melodrama. The film is not so much contemplative as the characters spend a lot of time contemplating....I'm not sure what. Their motives are base and their actions trivial -which would be fine if "Three Monkeys" were not trying to be something it's not. It's self-consciously weighty. There is no score; the characters speak very little; the camera dwells on dank interiors and false-color exteriors. The palette is washed-out and grimy, reminiscent of a low-budget horror film. The tone is simply not suited to the material. This creates a persistent impression of artifice.

The characters live every moment as if they are going to their deaths, behavior that seems rather forced in an over-the-top simplistic plot. It begs for more action and less staring into space. If Eyup is supposed to be experiencing some sort of existential crisis brought on by his discovery that things may not have gone as he expected while he was away, it doesn't have a chance to work, because we see too little of Eyup. He's a peripheral character, absent for most of the film. I give "Three Monkeys" three stars for Hatice Aslan, who has a lot of screen presence. Too bad she doesn't have anything more to do than emote at awkward moments. None of the actors do, unfortunately. In Turkish with optional English subtitles.

The DVD (Zeitgeist 2009): The only bonus features on the DVD are a theatrical trailer (1 min) for "Three Monkeys" and a theatrical trailer for "Climates" (2 min). Subtitles are available in English only.

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