Director: Todd Field

Starring: Cate Blanchett

Year: 2022

I saw a review for Tar that called it “breathtaking entertainment.”  Now, I hate to use cliched internet trends, but that blurb might just be my villain origin story.  I can’t think of any film that I would call “breathtaking entertainment” less than this film, which is basically two & a half hours of a megalomaniac having a complete mental breakdown.  If that sounds thrilling to you, then knock yourself out, but leave me the hell out of it.  Tar may be one of the most over-hyped, underwhelming movies of the last 25 years, a complete slog through nothingness and a journey to nowhere that will leave you feeling dead inside.

Lydia Tar is the conductor of the Berlin Orchestra, and one of the greatest conductors in the world.  But she’s also riddled with problematic behavior; the seduction of students and colleagues, the firing and overstepping of prominent figures within the symphony, a rocky personal life that leaks into online forums and critique.  Her genius is unrivaled, but her ego is monstrous, and will eventually be her downfall.

Todd Field has directed three films: In the Bedroom (2001), Little Children (2006), and Tar (2022).  That might be all you need to know about his vision and his talent, or should I say lack thereof.  This third go at making a movie is just as lifeless as his other two, showing that he simply doesn’t know how to convey what it is he wants to say to an audience that wants to hear it.  Blanchett is a great vehicle, she’s very talented, but even she can’t fully embody this bizarre character, who isn’t anyone in particular but might be based on geniuses in general, who knows.  It’s just a weird film, a fake biopic, it has almost no music, and it takes hours to make a point that we understand within the first few minutes.  Soulless, empty, banal, pretentious, meandering; I’m running out of adjectives to describe just how awful this multiple Oscar-nominated film really is.

My rating: ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆