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Head-On Review

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A marriage of convenience transforms the fortunes of the boozing loser Cahet and rebellious spirit Sibil, both Germans of Turkish decent. They live as flatmates for a while and then their lives begin to get far more complicated.

★★★★★

Fatih Akin follows the excellent (but unreleased) Solino with this intense, yet frequently tender and witty, tale of a marriage of convenience that transforms the fortunes of boozing loser Birol Unel and rebellious spirit Sibel Kekilli.

The sequences in which he rediscovers himself in the glow of her lust for life are realised with a sensitivity to character that contrasts with the stereotypical prejudices of Kekilli's traditional family and Unel's seedy affair with hairdresser Catrin Striebeck. But having taken such care in establishing the relationship, Akin shatters it with an inevitable tragedy that unleashes a torrent of melodramatic occurrences, making the conclusion feel rushed and contrived. Nevertheless, Unel and the debuting Kekilli are as impressive as Akin's atmospheric snapshots of Hamburg and Istanbul.

Akin builds well, but blows it at the last reel, but the lead performances are solid and delicately nuanced.

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