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Three Monkeys

4.2 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

After his critically acclaimed mood pieces Distant and Climates, leading Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan shifts gears in this twisty, noirish tale while retaining his mastery of ambience, nuance and astonishing cinematography. Winner of the Best Director prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 2008, THREE MONKEYS opens with an ambitious politician fleeing a hit-and-run accident in the dead of night. Afraid of hurting his election chances, he pays off his chauffeur Eyup to take the rap. While Eyup stews in jail, this devil's bargain takes its toll on his brooding son Ismail and restless wife Hacer, who falls into an illicit affair with the politician. 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.

- 16:9 anamorphic transfer, created from Hi-Def elements and enhanced for widescreen televisions
- Theatrical trailers
- Optional English subtitles
- Director's note and interview with Nuri Bilge Ceylan

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Yavuz Bingol, Hatice Aslan, Ahmet Rifat Sungar
  • Directors: Nuri Bilge Ceylan
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Zeitgeist Films
  • DVD Release Date: November 24, 2009
  • Run Time: 109 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002HMUUP4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #112,584 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Three Monkeys" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Like many great films noir, THREE MONKEYS amounts to a lot of style attached to a slight amount of plot. Whatever anyone else thinks, I consider that to be praise.

A sleepy driver hits a pedestrian. The driver is a politician with an election pending and, with a phone call in the middle of the night, he persuades his personal driver to serve the prison sentence for him. This leads to disruptions in the driver's family, all of which brings about a melodramatically overwrought sequence of events.

It is a B-noir plot from the forties, with a difference: Nuri Bilge Ceylan's screenplay and direction has an intriguing way of revealing action and consequences. He makes us work, a little. Sometimes we see only actions following each other, with no hint of what connects them. Other times we see only the "dead" time in the spaces between the actions, and we have to infer what happened.

There is an enormous breadth to Ceylan's cinematic knowledge. From DISTANT, we know of Tarkovsky's influence; from CLIMATES, we saw his fondness for Tati, among others. Here, in THREE MONKEYS, it is Jean-Pierre Melville that comes to mind, especially BOB LE FLAMBEUR, which was once described as a movie about "how gangsters brush their teeth." But Ceylan has reached the point where his influences have become so uniquely swirled together, all you can truly say about him is that he is an original.

Is THREE MONKEYS a highly-stylized movie? You bet. If there is some complaint about that, I'm afraid I don't understand. It seems like complaining that Sam Fuller and Fritz Lang are overly-stylized.

From my first viewing of DISTANT, I knew I was in the presence of a master filmmaker, but I never would have guessed he would go in this direction. Movies ought to flabbergast us more often than they do. I'm happy to say I have been flabbergasted.
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By maciora on November 15, 2009
Format: DVD
I was hooked by this film. It's a compelling story: a selfish flight from personal responsibility forms the seed for a thin vine of desire which eventually cracks the foundations of a working class family. The casting and performances are first rate - Hatice Aslan as the wife and mother, wields a striking, classical beauty and maintains a haunted presence. The film revolves around and rests on her complex ambivalence.

As much as I love this film and wish to celebrate Mr. Ceylan's familiar, gorgeous imagery, I believe that the visuals here occasionally draw focus through a few overwrought visual touches than actually serve the film. This is a much more arresting-looking film than either "Distant" or "Climates." Mr. Ceylan's typically stripped-down narrative is well served by his flawless photographer's eye for composition - his pacing is perfect, echoing the authority of a master like Abbas Kairostami.

However, in a few instances I found the use of filters/post-production/visual effects distracting. In a lesser filmmaker, or one whose stories are less contemplative one could ignore these touches. In this story it made the narrative feel perhaps less important than the images. Or there was less concern about the tale than taking certain visual risks. Whatever the reason, I fell out of the story at those moments, noticing the filmmaker is tweaking the image, albeit to create something remarkable. I don't wish to imply that these rare moments ruined a great film; simply that it made me care differently.

All this points to a more complicated discussion about photographing emotional states and capturing that indefinable, relational electricity between characters, which ultimately is very personal. Mr. Ceylan is wrestling with these ideas here.
On it's own terms, "Three Monkeys" remains a powerful film and stylistic risks aside, I've enjoyed watching it several times.
I highly recommend it.
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Format: DVD
If you are a viewer who is willing to absorb a movie that captures the emotional feelings, the body expressions, facial expressions, anxiety, despair and brooding moods, then you will enjoy this. If you need action to guide you, then this may not be for you.

There is no soundtrack that generally sets the mood and tone and pace of the film. It is up to the quality of acting to leads us to thinking, to know the characters, and to feel for them. Therefore, the pace appears slower, and you are one to determine how to utilize that pacing.

The Turkish film (2008) is about a politician who has left the scene of a traffic accident and could not jeopardize his political career. He asks his chauffer Eyup to take the rap, a charge of manslaughter and serve time in prison and Eyup's family will be rewarded with a large sum of money when he gets out. Evenutally, the consequences for such a deal wear upon the family, the wife Hacer, the young adult son, Ismail.

You will not see any action or damatic physical scenes, as those appear off screen, and the dialogue is minimal. Director Nuri Bilge Ceylan, said in an interview that it is his habit "to keep chipping away at chat " and he doesn't like talky scenes." Therefore, the result is to focus on the silence and lingering shots of tormented or anguish faces. This method, is why some call the film very slow paced.

According to the director, the title comes from the notion of three monkeys, one who refuses to hear, one who refuses to see and one who refuses to speak. The three family members comprise the tale of monkeys being the family members who become involved in such an evil and overwhelming conspiracy that it eventually leads to their demise.

The film gets you to think, would you partake in such a conspiracy, not thinking out the consequences or what burden your family is able to carry. ....Rizzo.
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