REVIEW: Winter Sleep

20 05 2016

Winter SleepNuri Bilge Ceylan certainly loves the sound of his own writing; in “Winter Sleep,” we get virtually nothing but it for well over three hours. To quote Jerry Seinfeld, “Not that there’s anything wrong with that…”

Plenty of great movies (nay, many of my favorites) are excessively talky. But “Winter Sleep” does not just talk a lot. It talks in circles. In the sleepy Turkish mountain town of Cappadocia, hotel owner Aydin (Haluk Bilginer) spars with his newly divorced sister Necla (Demet Akbağ) and his younger wife Nihal (Melisa Sözen) during the slow season. Their conversations cover deep, profound philosophical territory. Like many such dramas, however, one has to wonder when the character stops speaking and the writer starts bragging.

And, to top it off, they spend the whole time talking and scarcely any time doing. In a sense, this is life. How often do we talk big and steadfastly avoid action? But if stasis were the point, Ceylan could at least spruce up the stillness. Most conversations are filmed in a bland shot/reverse shot pattern that makes each successive dialogue exchange feel longer and more grueling than the last.

Perhaps this style represents Ceylan’s method of making form correspond to content. But with his chosen aesthetic, form made me rather uninterested in content. B-2stars