Directed by Todd Field
Currently only in theaters
DO YOU ENJOY the acting of Cate Blanchett? If so, you are already gonna go in blind on this one, Tár, and you should be well pleased. Also I guess if you enjoy films by Todd Field, because this is “A FILM BY TODD FIELD,” according to the thing in the lobby, and the thing up on the screen before the screening. Plus, going back to the Cate Blanchett question from earlier, this film haz “BLANCHETT,” and yeah does it, so much, and that’s good. So, Blanchett IS Tár, you know? A hard-ass symphony conductor who is top of the heap, running a classy German symphony in a beautiful symphony stadium or hall or whatever. Tár doesn’t seem like a bad person, but they ain’t out to make friends too much, except in certain SPOILER ALERT ways.
Do you enjoy Classical Music, and modern compositions that require a person standing with their back to the audience who waves at the musicians to remind them how to play? If so, you also are probably gonna go in on this one with no need for a recommendation. Personally, I enjoyed this movie for the mystery and cinematography, and the scenic and sound design, as well as all of the performances, even from American writer and essayist Adam Gopnik, from The New Yorker, who opens the movie in an extended scene with BLANCHETT set at a The New Yorker Festival event. Yes, A FILM BY TODD FIELD gives zero fucks about the risk of putting you to sleep in the first 15 minutes of their movie with an extended scene of Adam Gopnik up against BLANCHETT! Boom! So I got kind of annoyed by the The New Yorker aspect of the movie, and also all the perfect furniture and clean tidy living spaces, kind of the way I used to get annoyed at all the perfect giant apartments in Woody Allen movies, but I got past it, because this is an absorbing drama, the kind that people are always saying isn’t getting made anymore, emotionally violent, full of creepy tension and suspense. Tár doesn’t sleep well, for good reasons.
Beyond annoying me at the beginning, this movie also made me feel bad that I don’t know more about classical symphony music beyond Bugs Bunny cartoons and that one Music Appreciation elective I took in Junior College. Sibelius, that’s all I got, composed some giant piece about a river. They didn’t mention that one in this film, but there were a few Classical Music Fan Service jests, which were perhaps overly appreciated by our advance screening audience, in the manner of when you go to a Star Trek movie and the Trekkers laugh way too hard at any jokes made by the Captain or Bones or somebody who is not even BLANCHETT, or Adam Gopnik, for that matter. Excellent performance by Gopnik, I’m not kidding. GOPNIK.
I don’t know if it was because we were watching a preview screening, but they ran all the small-print credits, like for “gaffer” and stuff, at the beginning of the film, and then I think the movie started, so if that happens when you go see it, just in case you think they got the reels out of order, but they don’t even have reels of film any more, right? It’s all digital stuff? I don’t know. Make sure you see it someplace with excellent sound, where people will be quiet, because that sense figures large in the story. Anyway, one more SPOILER ALERT: Millennials are here to call you on your shit. Do better.