TÁR ★★

I’d found the drama surrounding this insufferable, if easy to ignore, until we blew a speaker in the theater showing the movie, and was screamed at by a customer for “not knowing better” and that the film “is about music,” before I had a chance to make the easy fix. It’d be uncharitable to TÁR to let some Carroll Gardens asshole who’s probably neighbors withy Glenn Kenney compromise my potential enjoyment of the film, but something about his insistence on subject matter stuck on my mind throughout, because it’s not about music, but it purports to be in its dramatic presentation of a certain world—it furnishes the concept of music with accolades and titles, and that disconnect between renown and art is probably the most potent of the film’s ideas. 

There’s something askew in its presentation of commercialized classicism, however, and Tár’s status drifts from her profession, apart from the constant barrage of superficial signifiers. The subtlety bowdlerizes the otherwise relentless referentiality; this may be a milieu at war with itself, but Field can’t see beyond what he’s half created, half poached from our “current era.” Each decision is too easily traceable, the lack of a score defangs itself with the emphasis on aural sensitivity, Field doing the work for the viewer from the moment those credits start rolling in reverse. If he were interested in rupturing the prevailing iciness, perhaps Field could’ve retained a certain mutability, but he’s altogether too obsequious a director, committed not to his narratological ideas, but his ideas of how those at-best passable themes should be dressed up. Pierce the glibness and you arrive at circumspect filmmaking, closing punchline included. Still think Ryland made the most damning observation, comparing it to Haneke’s Cache.

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