Thursday, May 24, 2018

Labyrinth, the Turkish Movie (‘Labirent’)

When I was in Turkey I saw and exhibit in the museum for the decades of Turkish film.  I was impressed by the exhibit. Later I told East European friends how I’d seen all these films on display and what I’d seen was very talented.  They told me they loved Turkish films and that this is what they grew up on. Istanbul was the Hollywood of the East.

Well, Labirent (Labyrinth) was spectacular.  Tom Clancy, Tom Cruise, Angeline Jolie, and 007 all rolled up in one.  Made in Europe, mostly Germany and Turkey the back ground was incredible. Lots of those wonderful scenes of ancient cities.  The real find was the actors and actress.  Atimucin Esen played Fikret, the central character, the police spy operative in search of a terrorist cell.  What a great actor!  Melted Cumbul played Reyhan the partner who was not only deeply beautiful but also very intelligent and when she shot and fought there was a truth about it that’s not always present in the lipstick feminist Hollywood girls. Everything about the acting was real and human and meaningful. 

Tolga Ornek  was the director and did the screen play as well. It was so moving but in unpredictable ways. None of the stereotypical car chase sequences we’ve come to love from the west but fast paced foot chases and counter intuitive switches,with short rapid scene changes to maintain momentum. The car chases were there but different. Indeed everything was refreshing in the photography and angles.  The characterization was rich. .  I couldn’t help but think of the French Connection. It really was right up there with he best of thrillers and action movies. 

The subtitles were great but breaking up the film was the English dialogues when Fikret met with the English Intelligence head, Hugh Spencer played most believably by Martin Turner.  Yurdaer Okur was a really believable intelligent bad guy as was Altman Gordon playing Yousuf Zawas, the elder..

The plot was simple. Internet chatter, a leak here and a counter leak there, and a clue here and a clue there, all the while the hunt progressed with bombers going off and the action crescendoing to the big event.

The synagogue scene was so touching.  The children and family scenes all so moving.  It was heart rending at times but overall just a great French Connection type race against time.

Well done. I’m so impressed with Turkish film and look forward to seeing a whole lot more. The whole cast was great and deserving of comment but I’d  just say.  see the film.  Enjoy a great thriller. It was released in Germany in 2011 but is out on NetFlix 2015.  Great movie Two thumbs up!
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