What caught my eye about Onve Upon a Time in Anatolia wasn't it's title that hinted at something dark and fairytale like. It wasn't the story that followed the poilce, a doctor, a prosecutor and the suspects during a night and a day of a murder case. It was the superficial cover of the DVD. The picture featured a woman looking out at a village the rolling countryside beyond. This image doesn't appear in the actual film.
Taking place over a night and day, a group of men search through the night looking for a dead body that two suspects have buried somewhere in the Anatolian steppe. As well as the two suspects, police officers, a doctor, a prosecutor, grave diggers and gendarmerie forces drive from place to place, while sharing insights into their lives with each other. The chief of police has a sick child but all he can think about his being embarassed in front of the prosecutor. The prosecutor, shares a story a woman who predicted her death 5 months before it happened, a thinly disguised story about his own wife who may or may not have killed herself becouse of his unfaithfulness. The doctor is the calming factor throughout, showing kindness where others do not and choosing to not include possible case changing facts during the autopsy.
Though made bleak becuase of the subject matter, the countryside is beautiful. Even with its bare fields and lack of trees, the orange and brown makes it feel like eternal Autumn. There is far more going on that meets the eye and some statements are made with just looks and small actions. It is beautifully under played at times and at others tiring to watch as it does drag on. The story is slow and although there is urgentcy to find the body and take it to the autopsy, the only character who seems rushed is the chief of police. It may be a crime story but it plays out like a slow burning thriller. Could have been shorter and just as affective and beautifully shot.
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