Oscars 2023, Reviews

Oscars Watch 2023: Tár

Cate Blanchett delivers a masterful performance that carries this nearly three-hour film.

Score: 4/5

Having almost zero background in the world of conductors, Tár started off a little slow for me. This movie doesn’t hold anyone’s hand as scene after scene gives a glimpse into the inner politics of what it means to conduct a symphony Yet as the story played out, I began to see why Cate Blanchett was getting such acclaim for her performance of the title character Lydia Tár. This film discusses the idea of power, and what abusing that power inevitably leads to. For nearly two hours and forty minutes, Tár does everything she can to fight the reality that talented or not, one can’t escape the consequences of dark deeds.

Writer-director Todd Field’s goes to great lengths to show that even before things are crumbling around her, that mentally she was already falling apart from the weight of her actions. There are many scenes that show the anguish of someone unable to handle the trauma that Tár hides from as much as she can. It’s a credit to Blanchett that this is apparent even before the first nightmare comes to the screen. I could see it in her eyes, I could hear it in her voice, this was an unstable person. Unstable and powerful, the worst combination for those working around her.

The film’s length did tug at me at points towards the middle, but as the film pushed towards the end, I was one hundred percent invested in seeing how far could Tár go before everything came crashing down. That said, while things began to wind down the film made some jumps that made things a tad more challenging to follow. I could make assumptions, but it did get a bit ambiguous where I wish it was a tad smoothed over. The other thing that I really want to mention before closing this out is the sound. I’m shocked that this movie didn’t get nominated for sound as it felt like just as much a character as any actual actor on screen. The film used sound as a spectral force haunting Tár at every turn. It was effective in a way I haven’t heard in a while.

Like Elvis, Tár deserves to be seen merely to witness an actor performing at their highest level. Thankfully unlike Elvis, this film doesn’t have a major flaw to bog it down. Sure, it’s a tad on the long side, and the ending does a bit of jumping, but overall this is an excellent character-driven film worth the watch.

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