The Turin Horse

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The Turin Horse

When assessing any film by Hungary's Bla Tarr---especially his latest and reportedly last---it's important to separate the merely unfortunate from the misguided. (The man has the fixity of a great midnight-movie director in him, as well as the pretense.) So chalk it up to bad luck that his long takes here are less immersing than they were in Werckmeister Harmonies (2000), itself a hard feat to repeat. Also playing against Tarr, though not strictly his fault: The word for day in his native tongue is nap. (As his snoozy new film counts down six naps in chronological title cards, you may find yourself already doing so.)

Alas, there's some risibly bad stuff here, too---mainly contentwise---that even Tarr's passionate fans will balk at. Attaching unearned depth to a tale of a horse Nietzsche hugged before going mad, the movie sinks into a slog of windswept rural poverty: a land where hot potatoes are eaten without silverware and farmers toss back the booze. It might be the end of the world; it might just be a paucity of ideas. Gypsies cavort on the horizon---you get your hopes up that something of incident will occur. Nope. Even on its own limited, rigorous aesthetic grounds, there are far superior movies (including all of Tarr's own work). It's a sad way for the 56-year-old to go out, almost a caricature of his funereal mood and of art cinema in general.

Follow Joshua Rothkopf on Twitter: @joshrothkopf

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By: Joshua Rothkopf


Release details

Release date: Friday February 10 2012
Duration: 146 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Béla Tarr
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