The Turin Horse - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Turin Horse Reviews

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½ February 16, 2018
Bleak and melancholic which is the usual Bela Tarr trademark. This movie is another of his epics watching which a viewer undergoes a tremendous experience, it's like he lives those 5 days depicted in the movie with the characters. The philosophical context may be somewhat debatable, of course, but that is the point, to make an argument; and still this is an impressive and heavy message. To paraphrase one of the characters thoughts, they've definitely debased and ruined all.
July 26, 2017
Unfortunately the movie runs in a very much slow pace, considering how typical this is for art-foreign films, and not even its amazing visuals and style can help an empty story, especially considering the overall odd direction it takes, making the viewer thinking at first about a profound Nietzsche biopic, in regard of his last days alive, but becoming something else, although interesting at moments, in the end, playing just weird.
½ June 25, 2017
The opening scene is sensational but the rest if the film is a downcast and depressing descent into boredom and hell. The strings playing throughout are sombre as well. One for the arty types but painful viewing for everyone else.
May 14, 2016
I don't think that most people will enjoy this movie, but I loved the slow deliberate pace and that it was black and white. I am not exactly certain what the movie is trying to say. The dressing scenes were strange, but I was transfixed by this film.
May 5, 2016
Slowly paced, but as beautiful a art film as I've ever seen. CDW
Robert B.
Super Reviewer
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 19, 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 March 15, 2015
I don't know if I want to give this movie such a high trading because I'll probably never recommend it or watch it again. It's too much. It felt like the film to end all films.
Stark. B&W. The same long track throughout most of the movie where one doesn't find the and howling. Lots of long shots. I don't remember one montage, or even a cut within minutes.
The opening scene is without equal. The first few minutes tracking the horse is outstandingly beautiful.
By the end I have so many questions and feel half terrified and half enervated.
What did they see, or what occurred, when they turned back?
What does the horse symbolize? Their connection to the world/ their reliance and oneness with it/their fate? Disapproval?
Why the gypsies?
The book? What is she reading? It sounded like nonsense.
Who gives the bizarre speech in the middle of the film? (Everything is destroyed via King Midas effect. The noble is gone.) To what effect?
Is it apocalyptic?
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.
½ January 23, 2015
A masterwork of film craft and implicitness through such, and almost certainly among the most exhausting cinema experiences of all time.
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
November 24, 2014
After a second watch a five starts rating finds its way to that Epic.
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