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Home: Dubai Film Festival 2008: Day 4: Three Monkeys

Uc Maymun is the sort of film, where while watching you realize, everything could be resolved much more quicker (and sooner) if the main characters only spoke to each other. They donít, for very long portions of the film, and while this is supposed to be the entire point of the film (where an event that occurs is ignored like the proverbial Elephant in the room) it is also is one of the films misgivings. The event that acts as the setup for this is a car accident. Servet, a politician, is the man responsible, but because of his imminent participation in an upcoming election, he asks his driver to be his fall guy, luring him with the promise of regular monthly salary while serving the sentence and a bulk amount on release.

Thing donít exactly turn out this way. While in prison, the driverís wife has an affair with Servet, which her son suspects. Tempers flare, first between mother and son, and then between the husband and wife, after he returns from having served his prison sentence. The event quickly turns into a lite version of Dostoevskyís Crime and Punishment, but with deeper issues of unresolved guilt. The film handles this very well, without any frills and with great moody intensity. Director Nuri Bilge Ceylan won a Best Director award at Cannes and it becomes very obvious why. His film is careful and aware of its surroundings and the screenplay is attentive to very many details. In the pivotal scene where the son finds out that his mother lied to him, not only is the setup of discovering this lie an example of a cleverly constructed screenplay but the fact that the family lives close to a railway track becomes pivotal to how this happens. All of these details are very engaging and film not only captivates the mind, but the eyes as well.

For all of its promise though, Uc Maymun relies on some script incredulity, especially towards the end, to achieve its objectives. What starts off as a maddening joy to look at also becomes ponderous and tiring because of how little it achieves. Silence can be profound and meaningful, and Ceylan understands this well, even making it the point of his film (the title refers to the 3 monkeys rebuffing evil) but perhaps he overdoes it with visually arresting scenes that are in the end, just that, nothing more visually arresting scenes. - by Faizan Rashid [Rated 3.5 out of 5]

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