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‘Tár’ Review: Cate Blanchett Acts With Ferocious Force in Todd Field’s Masterful Drama About a Celebrity Conductor
Owen Gleiberman Chief Film Critic “Tár,” written and directed by Todd Field, tells the story of a world-famous symphony orchestra conductor played by Cate Blanchett, and let me say right up front: It’s the work of a master filmmaker. That’s not a total surprise. Field has made only two previous films, and the first of them, the domestic revenge drama “In the Bedroom” (2001), was languorous and lacerating — a small, compact indie-world explosion. His second feature, “Little Children” (2006), was, in my opinion, a misfire, though his talent was all over it. But “Tár,” the first film he has made in 16 years, takes Todd Field to a new level. The movie is breathtaking — in its drama, its high-crafted innovation, its vision. It’s a ruthless but intimate tale of art, lust, obsession, and power. It’s set in the contemporary classical-music world, and if that sounds a bit high-toned (it is, in a good way), the movie leads us through that world in a manner that’s so rigorously precise and authentic and detailed that it generates the immersion of a thriller. The characters in “Tár” feel as real as life. (They’re acted to richly drawn perfection down to the smallest role.) You believe, at every moment, in the reality you’re seeing, and it’s extraordinary how that raises the stakes.
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