A slow-burn study of investigatory obsession and police bureaucracy, Nuri Bilge Ceylan's mesmerizing "Once Upon a Time in Anatolia" plays like "Zodiac" meets "Police, Adjective." That's a tough combination to pull off: Neither David Fincher's epic tale of the infamous decade-spanning serial killer hunt nor Romanian director Corneliu Porumboiu's minimalist cop drama come with easy answers. But Ceylan has made a similarly analytical brain teaser, rendered in patient and sharply philosophical terms.
And here's the official logline:
In the dead of night, a group of men – among them a police commissioner, a prosecutor, a doctor and a murder suspect – drive through the Anatolian countryside, the serpentine roads and rolling hills lit only by the headlights of their cars. They are searching for a corpse, the victim of a brutal murder. The suspect, who claims he was drunk, can’t remember where he buried the body. As night wears on, details about the murder begin to emerge and the investigators’ own hidden secrets come to light. In the Anatolian steppes, nothing is what it seems; and when the body is found, the real questions begin.
The film opens January 4.