The opening scene of Three Monkeys sets the tone: a couple in a car come across a body on a deserted road and drive on by; the body is a victim of dangerous driving and the guilty man is politician Servet (Kesal). Fearing that it will ruin his career, Servet asks his driver Eyup (Bingol) to take the fall and in return the politician will compensate his family, a sum to be paid out in instalments while Eyup does his nine-month stretch. While he's away, his wife Hacer (Aslan), a kind-hearted but bored woman, conducts an affair with Servet. Ceylan is a filmmaker who doesn't like to lay it on – although guilt is the obvious theme for Three Monkeys, Ceylan never bullies the viewer into thinking this. The director wants us to find out everything in retrospect, preferring showing the consequences instead of the act. We learn that eldest son Ismail (Sunger) is involved with a dodgy crowd but only find this out when he comes home bleeding; the family are haunted by the death of the youngest son, whose ghost makes the briefest of cameos; and the reason why Aslan never visits her husband in jail is hinted at but not explained until much later. Short on dialogue, Celyan likes to leave most unsaid too. Everything here is tackled obliquely, like being trapped in a realistic dream, and that can be fascinating for some and dreadfully boring for others.
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