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Updated: Feb 1, 2023

A brilliant Cate Blanchett performance aside, Tár is a movie that delights, puzzles and frustrates in equal measures.

With Tár, his first work in 16 years, director Todd Field has created a movie that delights, puzzles and frustrates in equal measures.

The first two hours of the picture are a Kubrickian portrait of fictional conductor Lydia Tár, and while opening the film with the end credits, followed by overlong exposition had me grumbling from the start, Tár gradually finds a fascinating, if distant groove that was very much to my liking. A brilliant Cate Blanchett performance might capture the headlines, but the cast is rounded out by excellent actors throughout, while the eye for detail within the insular classical music world is second to none.

With 40 minutes to go however, Tár becomes another movie altogether, one that can best be compared to the unsettling work of David Lynch. While I get Field’s goal – he essentially allows the viewer a dive straight into his lead character’s mind – I’m not sure the jarring transition works for me.

Yet even if it had, one question would still linger in my mind: why does this movie, which clearly has abuse of power as its main theme, walk circles around the subject all movie long instead of tackling it head-on?

release: 2022

director: Todd Field

starring: Cate Blanchett, Nina Hoss, Noémie Merlant, Mark Strong


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