The Turin Horse - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Turin Horse Reviews

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October 8, 2015
The Turin Horse moves through six days time at a largo pace; the subject is burdensome. The shots are set up and progress very well. The film has a very somber and naturalistic aesthetic. If you can enjoy 2001, Tarkovsky's films, or nature documentaries then you may have the patience for this as well.
½ October 4, 2015
A full immersion like good audio, good screen, and full attention is important to really enjoy this film, much like other Bela Tarr's works. If you havent seen anything else by him, I would read up on what you are getting into first.
October 2, 2015
With its deliberate and liberal use of time, this poetic film requires patience, and in return it is a simplicity that holds a profound and heavy comprehension. Embodying powerful uses of cinematography, sound, perspectives, and repetition, this film is an experience.
½ September 14, 2015
Cisto mogoce, da sem krivicen do umetniske vrednosti tega dela. Vendar je tok dogodkov, ki to sploh niso, pocasnejsi od mene samega. In jaz sem zelo pocasen'
Super Reviewer
½ July 16, 2015
Dialogues (and monologues) have never been Tárr's forte, so it is wonderful to see him make a mostly silent and simple portrayal of the burden of existence in thirty hypnotizing long takes - the most visually and narratively well polished film of his career, yet ironically his last one.
½ June 12, 2015
A film like The Turin Horse makes me feel stupid. Perhaps I am just not 'getting' it, as apparently most critics did when they saw the film - presumably, according to the director (still in his 50's) his last). And it's not like I came to this filmmaker ignorant of his craft and style; sitting through all 450 minutes of Satantango was one of the most mysterious, satisfying if strange filmmaking experiences I've ever had, and that was not without its stretches of time without much "going on" as it were in the usual narrative sense.

The idea with The Turin Horse, co-directed by Agnes Hranitzszky, is that Frederich Nietzche saved a horse from being whipped in a town square in the late 19th century, and the horse was removed from its owner and given to another. Tarr could have filmed that sequence - which happened in real life, and further sounds to me like the dream sequence from Crime & Punishment involving a whipped horse, certainly from the opening narration a very cinematic and dramatic turn of events - but he chooses to go right into the story of this old farmer bringing the horse to his tiny not-much-of-a-farm with his daughter, and watch over the course of five/six days their downfall.

The thing you should know going into this, if you haven't seen Tarr before, is that he does long takes. All the time. Maybe the shortest shot in this runtime is about 4 minutes. It's certainly not easy to pull this off, everything has to be choreographed and timed just right, and that is certainly a testament to Fred Kinemen's cinematography. For me, actually, if it's anyone's masterpiece it's Kinemen's, who in black and white and usually in a camera that moves, gets the dust and wind and darkness and despair down just right visually speaking. There are many shots in the film, like the one where the farmer and his daughter, in the one sort of moment of story "progression", tries to get away from the farm to somewhere else, and the camera shows them off on the hillside, with a dead, lonely tree up top, and the wind blowing in the foreground. That's great.

But why then say that this movie makes me feel 'stupid'. Well, I just didn't 'get' it, I guess. Perhaps there's something to be said for this being some sort of transcendental experience or other, that what the movie is pretty much 'about' - watching the pitiless routines of cooking food, fetching water from a well, trying to make a horse eat, putting on clothes - is supposed to make us hypnotized. The sort of real-time, meditative, sort of deadpan and minimalist filmmaking of Satantango had that too, as I'm sure Tarr's other films do, but there was more going on there, more to actual see and note in the characters. Maybe that's part of the point, that this farmer and his daughter, without any electricity or books (well, until a gypsey happens to give one to her, not a long story, they happen by the house in one of the only times other humans interact with them) or any curiosity past living from one day to the next, have made this life and eventual death for themselves. And I can be mesmerized watching routine; Jeanne Dielman is one of the highlights of 1970's French cinema.

So what's missing here? Is it missing in myself to not meet the material more than halfway? I don't know. There may be something that Nietzsche is used as this catalyst for the story at all - that there's something to these lives 'Between Good and Evil', or to his philosophy expressed here. Maybe it's about how the breakdown of the world is meant to be comparable to Tarr seeing the breakdown of cinema, with himself leaving the medium (at least for the time being). And to be fair, as more 'things' happen to this father and daughter, I started to get more intrigued. I wanted to meet the film more than halfway, as this director is the epitome of uncompromising, dead-serious art house filmmakers. And there's just enough for me to recommend it to die-hard admirers of this sort of rigorous filmmaking with maybe like 50 shots in the whole run time. I simply wish there had been a sliver more 'there' there in terms of these two people, despite that being the point of the nothingness of existence and so on.
½ February 21, 2015
Perhaps if this were your very first Bela Tarr film (and he suggests that it is his very last), then this would be a more intense and compelling experience -- as I had when I saw Sátántangó as my introduction. Tarr revisits the tone and style of that earlier seven hour film in this shorter one (only 2 1/2 hours but composed of just 30 long shots). That is to say, this is a bleak but beautiful, slow and hypnotizing, high contrast black and white stare at repetitive peasant life in the midst of an endless possibly apocalyptic windstorm. Tarr famously refuses to be drawn as to whether there is any deeper meanings to his films, although we are told it is based on an anti-theology and this is an anti-creation film - in the six days of the story, the world fades to black (let there be dark, indeed). If the starting point of this entire script is the question of what happened to the horse that Nietzsche famously saved from flogging, you might think that his philosophy is somehow a key to unlocking things here - and a visitor seeking palinka (Hungarian fruit brandy) does spout some "beyond good and evil" beliefs - but our lead character calls them "bullshit". This may be an example of Tarr's sense of humor, if he has one. The horse dies anyway.
January 15, 2015
PUTA MERDA, GENTE. Estou abismada que demorei tanto pra assistir essa obra-prima.
December 4, 2014
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November 27, 2014
One of the best cinematic experiences i've ever had
April 28, 2014
After a second watch a five starts rating finds its way to that Epic.
November 16, 2014
Béla Tarr is for me most know as the guy that made the ultra long "Sátántangó", a 7.5 hour long film.

This film starts of with some words involving German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche and when he gets struck by serious mental illness. When the film starts we get naturalistic scenes, slow scenes, long scenes, windy scenes, static scenes. When there are movement it's beautiful but slow. When the images are still, they never really are, there are something moving. Steam, fire or something. The people involved utter no words. The horse is the best actor of the film, that's pretty cool.

Hounting music is key combined with the imagery. Astonishing cinematography and camerawork
It's a film you can leave for 20 minutes and you won't miss out on much, almost nothing at all. That's how slow it is. It's also repitative. Actually, the film is so slow that shots freeze, sometimes after focusing, onto a wall or something for 30 seconds before we get some camera movement or some sort of cut. My mind is twitching and turning, especially near the end while the lightening and images are magical.
A film that's definitely looks at it's best in black and white, it creates the right cold atmosphere.

It's difficult to rate this haunting, but in a way a really, really boring film as well. Long, rare and definitely something different for a limited audience. This two and a half hour long film is divided into 30 takes and got it's feet into the art landscape, and it stays miles away from thrilling and entertaining features.

8.5 out of 10 potatoes.
July 1, 2012
Excellent photographical essay on a world winding down
February 20, 2012
I call emperor's got no clothes. This is uneventful and unbearable to watch. "Artsy" appears to be another word for "this looks like complete shit, but everyone else is still pretending that this was momentous, so I guess I'll play along". Ironically, the costuming looks like it's worth a closer look, had they factored lighting into the budget.

The monotonous dirge is a really suitable soundtrack.
½ May 19, 2013
It's beautifully, hauntingly, eerily, perfectly, shot and scored, but the story and overall monotone nature (while probably intentional), just ends up wearing you down by the end of the film. It's unrelentingly bleak in nature, slow paced, with long takes. It's not at all for casual audience, but if you like weighty parables, look no further. I definitely don't think the movie compares with Tarr's earlier work, particular Harmonies, which I maintain is his masterpiece. This is supposedly Tarr's last film, and in some ways it would be a fitting end. I just wish he made something a bit more engaging.
ElCochran90
Super Reviewer
December 25, 2013
First Day: Food and shelter
Second Day: Touching, acquiring and therefore debasing
Third Day: God watches all over you
Fourth Day: Scarcity
Fifth Day: Darkness and silence
Sixth Day: Death

Predominant elements throughout the days: A storm raging outside and moving everything that can be found in the air and on the ground, like trying to reach a destination, shadows, cotidianity occupying three alienated souls (two humans, one animal), a strong wind heard while outside, ghastly and scary wind sounds from the inside, repentance, mysteries unspoken, emotional detachment, water and potatoes.

Bonus feature: Presented in the Second Day: A destructive critique to civilization throughout the centuries against authority and other godly figures attempting to establish their false omnipresence above everybody else, until a worldwide populace realizes that those trying to embody godly roles actually represent false promises and attempt to tear the system down.

The moment in which the horse started to cry, my soul escaped my body and tears attempted to escape through my eyes. If this is meant to be the final testament from a film-making master, I shall embrace every single "post-neorealist" fragment and landscape he tried to represent throughout 5 decades, culminating in his most death-oriented statement composed by 30 shots with an average length of exactly 4 minutes and 52 seconds each.

98/100

P.S. It surprises me that this is the most acclaimed film by the director, and also the most famous. Not arguing about this master farewell's greatness, this wouldn't even be in his Top 3.
December 6, 2013
Brilliant and miserable
Harlequin68
Super Reviewer
½ September 26, 2013
To the casual observer, it might appear that there is nothing happening in the supremely deliberately paced, yet somehow oddly mesmerizing "The Turin Horse." Ohlsdorfer(Janos Derzsi) and his daughter(Erika Bok) might beg to differ, as this is life on their farm in microcosm that we are talking about. Granted, it is a hard life that usually consists of boiled potatoes for dinner and Ohlsdorfer's busted right arm not helping matters in the least. So, when a windstorm settles in for several days which their horse wants nothing to do with, their whole existence is under threat. However, as long as they have any brandy left, they should still be in good shape...
½ July 21, 2013
A bore! Really deserves no stars! Tarr wants to show you how boring and repetitive the life's of these people were back in the 19th century by just laying his camera in place and shooting them doing mundane repetitive tasks and forcing his audience to watch for a painful and slow moving 2:26 minutes! Boring and tedious. It is almost like watching a full day security tape of people working at the yard and nothing important happens!
½ August 11, 2013
Horribly boring, dull and repetitive pretentious "art"-garbage. Literally NOTHING happens during the course of 2 1/2 hours, apart from two people eating potatoes and going to the well to get water. People who like this kind of thing must be masochists.
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