Head-On

Fatih Akin's surprisingly grisly feature spills more blood than both of Quentin Tarantino's KILL BILL films combined, which is strange when you consider that it's a love story. Even more surprising is that this downbeat, multi-culti drama about two suicidal Turkish-Germans who find each other before finding themselves was a huge hit in its native Germany....read more

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Reviewed by Ken Fox
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Fatih Akin's surprisingly grisly feature spills more blood than both of Quentin Tarantino's KILL BILL films combined, which is strange when you consider that it's a love story. Even more surprising is that this downbeat, multi-culti drama about two suicidal Turkish-Germans who find each other before finding themselves was a huge hit in its native Germany. First-generation, German-born Turk Cahit Tomruk (Birol Unel) meets the intoxicatingly beautiful Sibel (surprisingly talented porn actress Sibel Kekilli) in a Hamburg psychiatric facility after deliberately driving his car head-on into a brick wall. Sibel is in the clinic for slashing her wrists, but meeting Cahit suggests a much better way to escape her suffocatingly traditional Turkish family: She'll marry and move in with him, regardless of his feelings on the matter. The sullen, belligerent Cahit isn't exactly eligible-bachelor material: He collects empty bottles in a friend's bar for a living; lives in a squalid, one-room apartment; and has, since his first wife's death, been mired in the deep, dark funk that drove him to attempt suicide. But Cahit is Turkish, and that's enough for Sibel's parents. In their estimation, marrying a deadbeat twice her age couldn't be any worse than the other decisions Sibel has made during her young, troubled life. The biggest obstacle turns out to be Cahit himself: He has no intention of remarrying anybody, never mind an unstable stranger. He relents after Sibel stages yet another suicide attempt — this time in a crowded cafe — and after muddling his way through the lavish Turkish wedding and making room in his filthy flat, Cahit finds that he not only likes having Sibel around but is falling in love with her. Sibel, however, won't consummate their marriage and insists on catting around with strangers she meets in bars, which soon leads to an unexpected explosion of violence. As in Akin's upbeat IN JULY (2000), in which mismatched Turkish lovers leave Germany for a road trip to Istanbul, Cahit and Sibel are drawn to the land of their ancestors and discover a truer sense of themselves than they ever could in Hamburg. But here Akin's palette is darker, the décor often strewn with shattered glass and splattered with blood, and the soundtrack, which mixes popular Turkish tunes with European club sounds, leans heavily toward to the black-creped post-punk of The Birthday Party, Depeche Mode and The Sisters of Mercy.

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  • Released: 2004
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Fatih Akin's surprisingly grisly feature spills more blood than both of Quentin Tarantino's KILL BILL films combined, which is strange when you consider that it's a love story. Even more surprising is that this downbeat, multi-culti drama about two suicida… (more)

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