Head-On is unlike most of the movies I review. Typically I review mostly horror but I like to throw in something different every now and then like dark foreign films. I love the mesmerizing films of Michael Haneke, Francois Ozon, Catherine Briellet, and Lars Von Trier. Each of these directors have a way of shocking, sympathizing, and entrancing their viewers through subtle yet powerful storytelling. I highly recommend ANY of these director’s films. This is the first film I’ve seen by Faith Akin (director of Head-On) and it makes me excited to explore his other works after viewing this beautiful and emotional film.
The title, Head-On, is a fitting description of the type of characters in this film. Each plow through life, making rash and sometimes dangerous decisions, that ultimately shape the outcomes of their lives. Cahit is a persuasive drunk, not a care in the world bedsides being fucked-up. A near fatal car wreck almost takes his life and he is sent to the psychiatric ward of the hospital where he meets the beautiful and reckless Sibel. Sibel immediately asks Cahit to marry her because she is a shame to her Turkish family for being an unwed woman. She is emotionally unstable and slices her wrists open when he refuses her marriage proposal. After much convincing, the two strangers take the sacred vow of marriage with no love in their hearts.
The scene where Sibel cuts her wrists and the part when she is later shown walking down the aisle with long gloves on to cover her scars is done in a surprisingly humorous way. This is a serious film but has moments of unexpected and ironic humor, giving the film a touch of something uniquely special. The first cut of Head-On was 4 hours long, which in all honesty, I probably would not have minded. Just like when I watched Boyhood (2014) recently, I almost forgot it was a movie because all the scenes and actor encounters are natural and realistic to everyday life.
The marriage between Sibel and Cahit is just the beginning of this dark love story. The way that this story is told reminds me of the Lars Von Trier film, Breaking the Waves. It is the unconventional love story of a wife and her crippled husband told through segments, or milestones in their relationship. Head-On is told in a similar fashion, with intermissions of music that carry the story into the next chapter of their lives. We see them becomes friends, then lovers, then falling into their old patterns of self-destruction and enduring a ghastly tragedy that changes the course of their lives forever, hoping for a reconnection in this epic love story spanning over a decade. Director Faith Akin explores human relationships and emotional turmoil with elegance. This tale of sadness, love, and affection is emotionally powerful, uplifting, and heartbreaking all at once.
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