Chiko (18)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner20/08/2009

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 92 mins

Impressively directed, sharply written Turkish-German drug dealer drama, with strong performances and perhaps the most upsetting act of cinematic violence you'll see all year.

What's it all about?
Directed by Turkish-German director Ozgur Yildirim (making his feature debut), Chiko stars Denis Moschitto as Isa (which means Jesus), a Hamburg hard man who prefers to go by the name tattooed on his arm: Chiko. After Chiko and his best friend Tibet (Vilkan Ozcan) beat up a local drug dealer, they're invited to work for local gangster Brownie (Moritz Bleibtreu), after Chiko sensibly points out that Brownie would probably prefer his drug dealers to be able to handle themselves in a fight.

However, when Tibet gets greedy (because of his sick mother) and starts skimming the drug supply, Brownie exacts a violent revenge, which leaves Chiko torn between avenging his best friend or keeping in with his new boss, who, in turn, has taken Chiko under his wing. Meanwhile, Chiko also begins a relationship with Meryem (Reyhan Sahin), one of Brownie's stable of prostitutes.

The Good
The performances are excellent; Moschitto manages to keep Chiko sympathetic, despite his choice of profession, while Bleibtreu (whose face you'll know if you've seen any German movie in the last five years) is well cast as the charismatic Brownie. The script is, admittedly, largely predictable, but it does pull off at least one genuine shock, with a jaw-droppingly horrific act of violence towards the end that, thankfully, takes place mostly offscreen.

Yildirim is maybe a little too fond of the montage, but he obviously knows his Scorsese movies and the film is snappily edited throughout, to an impressive soundtrack. He also orchestrates several memorably tense sequences as well as a vicious fight scene after a drug deal goes horribly wrong.

The Great
Chiko would make a superb double bill with the recent British film Shifty and it's fascinating to compare the different approaches of the two films, given their almost identical subject matter.

Worth seeing?
Chiko is an engaging, impressively directed and frequently tense drama that marks director Ozgur Yildirim out as a talent to watch. Recommended.

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Chiko (18)
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Content updated: 23/10/2017 08:58

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