Cate Blanchett is a two-time Oscar winner so it might seem a little odd to say she gives a career defining performance in her latest film "Tár."
Yet here we are with Blanchett absolutely crushing her latest role - a force of nature in a film that is as challenging and complex as its title character. Writer/director Todd Field has created a film that leave people talking with Blanchett giving a performance for ages - a force of nature that demands the audience's attention every uncomfortable step of the way.
Blanchett plays Lydia Tár, a renowned classical composer with an impeccable resume at the height of her impressive career. Tár is the conductor of a major German symphony about to release her memoir which is meant to coincide with a live performance of Mahler's Fifth Symphony.
Tár's success can be traced to her demanding personality. She is a woman that expects perfection in every thing - a meticulous demeanor that is befit of her profession.
Tár's seemingly perfect world starts to come unraveled with news of the suicide of a former student serving as the first signs that she may not have as firm of a grasp on her professional and personal life as it appears.
Field has proven to be a filmmaker that is not afraid to tackle the seediness of one's psyche in films like "Little Children" and "In the Bedroom" (this is his first film since "Children" which was released in 2006). In "Tár" he once again goes in a direction that challenges its audience as we watch this woman's world slowly crumble due to her own transgressions.
Yet, even as the character continues to show traits that make her less likable she remains sympathetic and that is a credit to Blanchett's incredible work. She is willing to go into some dark territory here, showing a vulnerability that we rarely see on the screen.
While Blanchett is in every single moment this isn't a one woman show. There are strong supporting turns as well - including Nina Hoss as her wife, Noémie Merlant as her personal assistant and Mark Strong as a colleague. Each supporting character and interaction allows us to further examine the complexity of Tár and just how calculated she is in all facets of her life.
It takes a special person to deliver the complexity of this character and Blanchett is certainly that. Whether its an extended opening sequence where Tár is onstage for a live interview with "New Yorker" magazine in front of an attentive audience or scenes where she seeks advice from another colleague (Julian Glover) Blanchett is pitch-perfect in every single moment.
She gives a performance for the ages in a film that may ultimately define this era. It's easily one of the best performances of 2022 in one of 2022's best films.