Monday, 25 July 2011

Review - The Edge of Heaven (2007 - Dir. Fatih Akin)

The cover of Akin's German/Turkish human drama is so tantalisingly gritty that I could hardly wait for the euro-tinged grit-fest that would surely follow. In the stark red and black design, all the elements of the Gritty Checklist are covered: prostitutes, tangled relationships, children with guns and men staring out to sea. However in this case maybe I shouldn't have judged a book by its cover.

The Edge of Heaven is essentially a sedate journey through the relationships and interconnections between three families in either Germany, Turkey or both. It's is outstanding in its ordinariness and scores no more than 10% on the Doccortex Grittiness Scale. It's more a German TV film or Play for Today rather than a cinematic masterpiece.

More irritatingly, it tries to be clever and ironic in the way it shows the paths of the characters criss-crossing throughout the film, but it's a luke warm attempt. This has been done so much better in a range of other films with Amores Perros instantly springing to mind. The only piece of gritty camera work on offer is the overused shot from the front or rear windscreen of a car in the frequent journey sequences, which is too little, too late.

All the acting is acceptable but with no-one standing out in any way, shape or form. None of the characters are remotely likeable or generate any strong feelings so it's hard to engage with proceedings on any emotional level.

A great example of world cinema this isn't, but if you want a semi-decent German TV film, this is the one for you. For an altogether more enjoyable experience; just look at the DVD cover and imagine the film that this conjures up!  

If you like this you could try:
Amores Perros, City of God, The Lives of Others.

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