Movie review: "Three Monkeys"

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

I'm pretty secure in the belief that you won't see another murder mystery this year like Three Monkeys. Winner of the prize for best director at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival, the latest from Turkish filmmaker Nuri Bilge Ceylan combines three disparate elements to form something with a beauty and tension unto itself.

The first is the genre tale, co-written by Ceylan and his wife-collaborator Ebru. It tracks the downward moral spiral set into motion when Eyup (Yavuz Bingol), a driver for a low-level politician, agrees to take the rap for his boss' hit-and-run homicide.

The mystery of this murder comes partly from the slow unveiling of how Eyup's decision has affected his wife and son in the months he's been in prison.

It also stems from Ceylan's classically minimal approach to sharing information. Things left unseen work with a mix of powerful close-ups and purposely frustrating wide shots to push those watching further and further on edge.

Lastly, and most effectively, Ceylan incorporates genuinely stunning cinematography that begs for big-screen viewing. Its raw, earthy color scheme and sense of grandeur recall Zack Snyder's 300, of all things, but here the look advances a thickening air of dread and corruption, not just cool aesthetics.

"Three Monkeys"

Screens Sept. 24-25 at the Wexner Center Film/Video Theater

Grade: A-