If you take tar as an intellectual exercise, it is a masterpiece.
American filmmaker Todd Field’s drama does many things well, chief among them Cate Blanchett’s commanding performance as the complex and narcissistic conductor.
Lydia Tar is a supernaturally gifted musician. He is a composer, pianist and chief conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic. As a woman who thrived in the dominant position of loyal men, Lydia has much to be proud of.
He has an important concert and a new book coming up.
He also exhibits much of the same toxic behavior found in strong men. He uses and exploits the people in his life, especially the young women, while his appreciation of their talents doesn’t even allow for modesty.
His strong will, arrogance and narcissism put many on his back, including his assistant Francesca (Noemi Merlant) and his wife Sharon (Nina Hoss). They are disposable and subject to Lydia’s wishes.
But a series of challenges—mostly of her own making—will shake Lydia’s sense of her world and her place in it.
tar it’s a searing portrait of a flawed and charming character, a beautiful dance between director and actor to create a figure you can’t stop watching. It gets your attention more.
Blanchett swept the awards circuit, picking up statuettes like a magnet. And it’s easy to see why. All this skill and charm is on display, from the character’s physical mannerisms and modulations in his voice to the intensity of his glare.
It’s also a character that’s relatable despite its occasional monstrosity. While we judge, we envy her unapologetic embrace of her ID. Lydia is not indifferent to this He founded Wall Street it’s over the top, but he’s having fun, even if it’s hidden and modest.
tar also features gorgeous production design, a charming and slow-burning pace, stunning photography by Florian Hoffmeister, and a visceral score by Oscar winner Hildur Gudnadottir. It’s also reminiscent of world-building.
When it comes to ticking the boxes that make up successful cinema, Tar embraces bold, black text.
But why does it? tar Feeling so cold and emotionally distant?
It becomes a film where you can appreciate all its accomplishments and artistry more than you realize. While you can see why this is done, there are options that keep the viewer at a distance.
Given that the main character is a narcissist and the film views everything and everyone through his lens, it makes sense that the supporting characters flit in and out of the scene without grounding them. If Lydia doesn’t see them as whole people, so be it tar can’t either.
While this makes sense, it’s also harsh and highlights why Field’s work is hard to connect with emotionally.
He is more interested in asking brain questions than emotional questions.
Like Lydia herself, tar it’s a skilled, polished and captivating piece, but it lacks a beating heart.
Tar is in theaters from January 26
Originally published as Tar is a classy film with no emotional connection