Three Monkeys Nuri Bilge Ceylan

Three Monkeys Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Aesthetically propitious, with its washed brown/grey palette and tendency towards skyline and lighting as exaggeration of character inner-state, Three Monkeys is a technically proficient throwback to fizzy dramas of decades past but falls short of being much more than a pretty melodrama. Those familiar with Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan's previous work on Distant and Climates know that he's capable of more than this, much to the film's detriment. With a decided lack of subtlety, the film opens with Servet (Ercan Kesel) driving down a darkened road, eventually descending into complete darkness, later revealing that the political hopeful has struck someone with his car. Fearing public ruin and career death, he offers driver Eyup (Yavuz Bingol) a large sum of money to take the prison rap for him, ensuring fiscal security upon release. With pop in prison, son Ismail (Rifat Sungar) convinces his lonely mother, Hacer (Hatice Aslan), to request an advance of funds from Servet through gentle manipulation and guilt. Inevitably, Hacer strikes up a coital relationship with the public official, much to the chagrin of her jailed husband, thus unravelling the foreshadowed tragedy of the film. It is all an indicator of the dangers inherent in ignorance and refusal — as the title suggests, those who see, hear and speak no evil only make the plight worse with their silence. Of course, the one who suffers most is she with the purest intentions gone wrong, ramping up the theme of female suffrage so common in recent Turkish cinema. Top-notch performances and a naturalistic approach to exaggerated behaviours certainly make Three Monkeys engaging throughout, if forgettable, which is certainly more than most films of late can claim. As such, fans of stylized foreign melodrama could do much worse. No supplements are included with the DVD release, save a trailer. (Mongrel Media)