Thursday, 27 March 2014

Özcan Deniz’s Su ve Ateş: a familiar and clichéd story

Film / Review

By Evrim Ersoy

Su ve Ateş is Özcan Deniz’s third attempt at becoming a filmmaker; he may have the technical credits, but his ability to write and construct a story leaves much to be desired.

Aimed squarely at Deniz’s fans, the film tells the impossible love story between Kemal (aka Hasmet) and Yağmur who meet on a flight to London. She is a hairdresser studying English and he is on the run from a blood-feud. The two begin a burgeoning affair marked by the sights and sounds of London. It’s not long before Hasmet’s family begin a byzantine plot to separate the lovers so that they can hitch him to a bride from the enemy family to end the feud for once and all.

Although the young cast give it their all, the film is dead on arrival. Deniz plays on his popular persona as the silent, gruff type – cleverly writing in a joke or two at his own expense, showing he does not lack a sense of humour. Yasemin Allen delivers a one-note performance of much disappointment, her character having been reduced to one hysterical outburst after another whilst Pelin Akil bravely wrestles with Nupelda trying to inject some much-needed emotion in what is clearly an underwritten part.

However all is vain as the scenario can never navigate the emotional complexities needed to bulk up such a familiar and clichéd story.

Turning up the melodrama to 11, Su ve Ateş brims with moments designed solely to get the audience weeping. But paper-thin characters stop the audience from ever engaging with any of the events unfolding on the screen.

It’s indeed a pleasure to see London reflected on the screen through a Turkish lens – however the second half of the film slows down to such a drag that even this becomes a chore. Marked by an incessantly loud score, Su ve Ateş seems determined to beat its audience into submission. 

Here’s hoping that Deniz can hire a professional writer for the next film and focus his attention on directing.