Magazine article Screen International

'Frenzy': Review

Magazine article Screen International

'Frenzy': Review

Article excerpt

Dir/scr. Emin Alper. Turkey, Qatar, 2015. 119 min

Following up his metaphoric and highly-praised Beyond the Hill (Tenepin Ardi), Emin Alper's second feature Frenzy (Abluka) offers an even grimmer, more disconsolate portrait of contemporary Turkey, blunter, darker but far less satisfactory than his debut. Targeting the same audience as before, this time he will face a harder task in raising the same kind of enthusiasm for his story of two brothers living in the slums of Istanbul.

Digging deep into the sewers of the city to expose the sinister political system ruling the country at the present time, Alper finds in the complex relationship between two brothers (one a garbage collector, the other an exterminator of stray dogs), all the signs of a sick climate governed by violence, fear, suspicion and ready betrayal.

After serving 20 years in prison for an unspecified crime, Kadir (Mehmet Ozgur) is granted parole and sent to an anonymous Istanbul slum to collect garbage, but at the same time to smell out subversive elements to the best of his ability and inform the authorities.

There, he finds his younger brother Ahmet (Berkay Ates) living alone after having been abandoned by his wife and children, making a living by shooting the stray dogs which roam freely among the skeletons of the city's many uninhabited skyscrapers. A third brother, Veli, disappeared ten years earlier, leaving no trace.

Alper clearly wants to convey his profound disenchantment with the country in which he lives today. Though the first part of his overlong 119-minute film seems promising, the lack of a solid script after a certain point sees the action stray into fantasy and imagination whose only contribution seems to be to confuse and distract the audience.

The parallels between Kadir and Ahmet are not very difficult to discern. Both are lonely and desperate to find some kind of solace; they fulfill similar duties, cooperating with the establishment to eliminate "enemies of the state", whether they are potential terrorists or animals on the loose. …

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