After his critically acclaimed mood pieces Distant and Climates, Turkey's leading filmmaker moves in a more plot-driven direction while retaining his mastery of ambience and nuance. Winner of the Best Director prize at Cannes, Three Monkeys tells a twisty, noirish tale that opens
with an ambitious politician fleeing a hit-and-run accident. Afraid of hurting his election chances, he pays off his chauffeur, Eyup, to take the rap. The film concerns the effects of this devil's bargain on Eyup's shiftless son Ismail (who sees an expensive new car as his ticket to salvation), and on his restless wife, Hacer (who develops an ill-deserved passion for the oily politico). Ismail's discovery of his mother's infidelity and Eyup's suspicions after he gets out of jail crank up the simmering tensions in a household already haunted by hidden ghosts.
In the spirit of Bunuel's The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie and Haneke's Cache, Three Monkeys mounts a caustic critique of the bourgeois family, riddled with hypocrisy yet stubbornly resilient in its seemingly boundless capacity to sidestep guilt and accountability. As in his
previous films, Ceylan is unsurpassed at evoking both emotional and haunting cityscapes. The wintry vistas of Distant are supplanted here by sweltering seaside summerscapes rife with thundering trains and lowering clouds that portend a day of reckoning repeatedly, but perhaps not endlessly, deferred.