Such an accurate depiction of cramped spirits, small-mindedness and men unable to make changes in their lives takes its toll. Distant feels as if it's going nowhere in no particular hurry, and finally leaves us distant from its characters.
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What is most winning about Distant is that it can peer past the grief and find a scrap of comedy. [15 March 2004, p. 154]
Mood, atmosphere, and character are more important than story twists in this unassuming, acutely observant drama.
An arthouse film par excellence, a consummately made study of loneliness and frustration.
Long stretches go by without dialogue or discernible action. But there are significant rewards for those willing to accept the movie's deliberate pace.
Thoughtfully orchestrated and filled with visual wit.
There's also very little dialogue, but what there is is often very funny, and Ceylan is a master of the dead-pan visual gags that reveal volumes about his character.
Ceylan, who also served as cinematographer, frames the affecting, unstudied performances in gorgeously chosen shots and nonevents that sometimes teeter on the edge of comedy before knocking us breathless with their emotional power.
The film might be called a moral travelogue. Instead of showing us mosques and tourist spots in beguiling old Istanbul, it follows a couple of ordinary Turkish men in drab surroundings and affirms that they breathe the same doubt-laden air as much of the rest of the world.
If "Starsky & Hutch" is your idea of art, keep your distance from Distant, the droll new movie from maverick Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan. If, on the other hand, you're searching for something that will remain with you long after leaving the theater, run, don't walk, to Distant.