Any movie set around a specific genre or topic will have a niche appeal to audiences. But when it comes to something like a symphonic orchestra, there may just be a barrier to entry for a lot of viewers. Something that should be considered when making a movie with such a strong theme throughout it.
Tár follows the story of Lydia Tár, a professional conductor working in Berlin as her life begins to unravel. Tár, played by Cate Blanchette, is an arrogant conductor who lives only for her own pleasure. While the character of Tár is fictional, her portrayal of overconfident and egotistical conductors is relatable to others that have made headlines throughout the years. Blanchette portrays the egotistical masculine beautifully, even referring to her character as her daughter’s father. Her performance shines, but that might be the only positive thing about Tár.
So what went wrong here? A psychological thriller based around a very, extremely niche topic and industry is the first stumbling block. But the fact the film is so heavily ladened with music-specific verbiage that an average watcher wouldn’t understand it. Even with years of playing in a band or orchestra, the inner workings of the industry and the musical terms get overwhelming. And when the movie isn’t being held back by the dialogue that switches from English to German, while only selectively translates German maybe 1/10th of the time. Leaving audience members who only speak English left out of the majority of the narrative.
The movie seems doomed from the beginning opening with over five minutes of end credits and dropping the audience into a Ted Talk-style presentation that goes on entirely too long.
There is a story somewhere in Tár, and one that could have been told in around 90 minutes. But instead of fake intrigue, a slow story and bloated run time takes Tár will keep audiences in theaters for two hours and 38 minutes.
Lydia Tár is a completely dislikeable character – but not in the way that the movie will drive you to see her outcome. Instead, the film falls flat, leaving you wanting for the type of movie that it could have been.
Tár is opening in theaters locally on October 21st, nationwide on October 28th.
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The film, set in the international world of classical music, centers on Lydia Tár, widely considered one of the greatest living composer/conductors and first-ever female chief conductor of a major German orchestra.
Starring Cate Blanchett, Nina Hoss, Noémie Merlant, Sophie Kauer, Julian Glover, Mark Strong, Allan Corduner, and Sylvia Flote.
Directed by Todd Field