Men On The Bridge (Koprudekiler) (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner28/01/2011

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 87 mins

Well made drama that presents a convincing picture of modern-day life in Istanbul and features impressive performances from non-professional actors; but the stories themselves are underwhelming and the pacing drags, despite the relatively short running time.

What's it all about?
Written and directed by first-timer Asli Ozge, Men on the Bridge is set in contemporary Istanbul and focuses on the lives of three men who are all connected by their day to day life on the Bosphorous Bridge. Devout Muslim Murat (Murat Tokgoz) is a shy 24-year-old traffic cop who's taken to internet dating in order to meet a suitable woman; 28-year-old Umut (Umut Ilker) drives a shared taxi and works as often as he can but can't make enough money to afford the bigger place he has promised his frustrated wife Cemile (Cemile Ilker); and teenage Roma Fikret (Fikret Portakal) sells flowers to grid-locked drivers on the bridge and dreams of finding a better job but finds his efforts hampered by a lack of education.

The Good
The film paints an impressive and convincing picture of modern life in the Turkish capital, so it's perhaps unsurprising to learn that the project started out as a documentary. Ozge also gets remarkable performances from her cast of non-professional actors, most of whom are essentially playing themselves, although it's interesting to note that Murat is depicted by the real-life character's brother, because Turkish police officers aren't allowed to portray themselves on screen.

The Bad
The stories themselves are something of a mixed bag. There's a real sadness to the story of Umut and Cemile, particularly during their heart-breaking arguments and their final scene is genuinely moving. However, Fikret's character never really comes to life and Murat's story feels under-developed (more than two dates might have helped).

In addition, the pacing drags considerably, despite the film's deceptively short running time; this is augmented by a general lack of plot that eventually becomes frustrating. Similarly, it's hard to avoid speculating on whether the film might have been improved by some crossover between the stories.

Worth seeing?
Men on the Bridge is well made and stands as a promising debut for writer-director Asli Ozge, but the stories aren't quite as emotionally engaging as they could have been.

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Men On The Bridge (Koprudekiler) (15)
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Content updated: 23/10/2017 12:24

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