Tár review – Cate Blanchett is perfect lead in delirious, sensual drama
As the maestro heading into crisis in Todd Field’s outrageous tale, Blanchett’s performance pierces like a conductor’s baton through the heart
Asecond viewing has swept away – with hurricane force – the obtuse worries I had at the Venice film festival about Todd Field’s entirely outrageous, delirious and sensual psychodrama starring Cate Blanchett as Lydia Tár, the orchestra conductor starting to unravel and unhinge. I had misgivings then about the climactic element of melodrama – which I now see as a deliberate and brilliant stab of dissonance, brilliantly cueing up the film’s deeply mysterious and surreal final section.
No one but Blanchett could have delivered the imperious hauteur necessary for portraying a great musician heading for a crackup or a creative epiphany. No one but Blanchett has the right way of wearing a two-piece black suit with an open-necked white shirt, the way of shaking her hair loose at moments of abandon, the way of letting her face become a Tutankhamun mask of contempt. Her performance will pierce you like a conductor’s baton through the heart – although the real-life conductor Marin Alsop, music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, has complained about the apparent parallels between her own life and Tár’s, and there has never been any suggestion of wrongdoing in Alsop’s own career.