Metascore
82

Universal acclaim - based on 21 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 21
  2. Negative: 1 out of 21
  1. Reviewed by: Wesley Morris
    May 17, 2012
    88
    Eerily tragic and chillingly hard to come to terms with.
  2. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Mar 7, 2012
    88
    Nuri Bilge Ceylan, one of Turkey's best directors, has a deep understanding of human nature. He loves his characters and empathizes with them. They deserve better than to be shuttled around in a facile plot. They deserve empathy. So do we all.
  3. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Mar 10, 2012
    100
    The wondrous cinematography is by Gokhan Tiryaki. It is not an easy picture. Not many masterpieces are.
  4. Reviewed by: David Parkinson
    Mar 12, 2012
    80
    Complex and sophisticated, this genre-defying crime story is spellbinding viewing.
  5. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Dec 31, 2011
    91
    Nuri Bilge Ceylan's mesmerizing Once Upon a Time in Anatolia plays like "Zodiac" meets "Police, Adjective."
  6. Reviewed by: Michelle Orange
    Jan 5, 2012
    85
    Tectonic pacing builds to a series of imperceptible and yet earth-moving moments in Nuri Bilge Ceylan's Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, a habeas corpus procedural stretched across two and a half discursive hours.
  7. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Jan 5, 2012
    60
    Acclaimed director Nuri Bilge Ceylan's meditative, at times maddening expression of human mystery and barren landscapes is gorgeous to look at, intriguing to think about and, at times, hard to sit through.
  8. Reviewed by: V.A. Musetto
    Jan 5, 2012
    75
    Patient viewers will be rewarded, as long as they pay attention. Lots of what at first seems inconsequential is actually of great import - but Ceylan isn't letting on. And yes, the cinematography is impressive.
  9. Reviewed by: Shawn Levy
    Apr 5, 2012
    83
    With its wide-open setting and taciturn, macho characters, it's a film that earns the right to use the "Once Upon a Time" title that Sergio Leone made so perversely famous.
  10. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Jan 4, 2012
    90
    What a handful of patient moviegoers may find in Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, however, is a subtle, gorgeous and mysterious allegory that may be Ceylan's masterwork to date.
  11. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Feb 9, 2012
    50
    Once Upon a Time in Anatolia is boring, but not in the usual way of boring movies. It is colossally, memorably and audaciously boring.
  12. Reviewed by: Andrew Schenker
    Dec 31, 2011
    38
    Nuri Bilge Ceylan has to be the least kinetic of working filmmakers - and not simply in the sense of static camerawork or lack of narrative momentum.
  13. Reviewed by: Scott Tobias
    Jan 4, 2012
    91
    The body means different things for each of them, and Ceylan's mesmerizing existential drama takes its time establishing the players and bringing their inner lives into focus. It's cinema as autopsy.
  14. 100
    If the word masterpiece has any use these days, it must apply to the film Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, a mature, philosophically resonant work from Turkey's leading director, 53-year-old Nuri Bilge Ceylan (Climates, Distance, Three Monkeys).
  15. Reviewed by: Peter Bradshaw
    Mar 16, 2012
    100
    With his two early features, "Distant" (2002) and "Climates" (2006), Ceylan has showed himself a superb film-maker. This is his greatest so far.
  16. Reviewed by: Deborah Young
    Dec 31, 2011
    70
    For those willing to take the plunge, it is a deep and haunting work that lingers in the memory.
  17. Reviewed by: Manohla Dargis
    Jan 3, 2012
    90
    A metaphysical road movie about life, death and the limits of knowledge, Once Upon a Time in Anatolia has arrived just in time to cure the adult filmgoer blues.
  18. Reviewed by: David Fear
    Jan 3, 2012
    60
    There's too much beauty and ballast in the movie's early stages to dismiss Ceylan's cerebral cop drama, and too much genuine banality in its latter acts to justify a sluggish slouch into the shallow end.
  19. Reviewed by: Tom Dawson
    Mar 16, 2012
    80
    Closer in metaphysical spirit to Kiarostami than to Leone, it lingers thanks to beautifully lit widescreen images of lived-in faces and barren, beautiful landscapes.
  20. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    Dec 31, 2011
    80
    Though its glacial pacing will represent a significant hurdle for many viewers, the film grows steadily more involving as dawn breaks and the men make their way back home, and its unflinching observations of the legal and medical establishment at work frequently rivet. Visually, it's as gorgeous a film as Ceylan has made.
  21. Reviewed by: J. Hoberman
    Jan 3, 2012
    80
    A 157-minute police procedural at once sensuous and cerebral, profane and metaphysical, "empty" and abundant, Once Upon a Time in Anatolia is closer to the Antonioni of "L'Avventura," and it elevates the 52-year-old director to a new level of achievement.
User Score
7.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 45 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 9
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 9
  3. Negative: 1 out of 9
  1. Mar 3, 2012
    10
    This movie confirms Ceylan as my favorite contemporary director and yet another award at Cannes (co-winner of the Grand Prix) is justlyThis movie confirms Ceylan as my favorite contemporary director and yet another award at Cannes (co-winner of the Grand Prix) is justly deserved. As with his previous films "Distant," "Climates," and "Three Monkeys," his first career as a photographer is reflected in each scene. He is a master of creating mood and in this film, his technical skills are on full display. What he does with lighting brings to mind the work of Kubrik who also started out as a photographer. Not a movie for people seeking typical Hollywood fare. Ceylan unfolds the story slowly and the "action" is in the characters, their lives, and their stories. By the the last scene fades, you are immersed in the inside emotional world of the characters. Ceylan is not one to hit you over the head to bring attention to a point but gives you credit for being intelligent enough to discover things on your own. The discovery, contemplation and interpretation of the film experience continues long after the last scene fades. What refuses to fade are the indelible images Ceylan has painted on the celluloid canvas. I highly recommend this film to everyone looking for meaning behind the superficial. Full Review »
  2. Jul 17, 2014
    10
    A haunting existential tale, gorgeously photographed, and full of slow burning, vivid scenes that hint at characters inner secrets. It'sA haunting existential tale, gorgeously photographed, and full of slow burning, vivid scenes that hint at characters inner secrets. It's cynical and beautiful, the director Ceylon lets the atmosphere drive the story. Full Review »
  3. May 29, 2014
    8
    After his latest feature WINTER SLEEP (2014) won Palme d’Or this year, there is no better timing to assess Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s previous works,After his latest feature WINTER SLEEP (2014) won Palme d’Or this year, there is no better timing to assess Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s previous works, personally I was daunted by my first experience with his film, THREE MONKEYS (2008, 6/10), so until now I dare to stride a second step, here comes his 2011 crime-drama.

    continue to read my review on my blog, google cinema omnivore, thanks.
    Full Review »