Daily News header

Bliss (Mutluluk) Film Review

By     get stories by email

Honor Killing Ordered in Haunting Drama Damning Orthodox Islam


When 17 year-old Meryem (Ozgu Namal) is found lying unconscious by a shepherd next to a lake in the Turkish countryside, it is apparent that something venereal in nature has transpired. But rather than determine whether the intercourse was rape or consensual, there's a rush to judgment in the village which points the blame at the young victim. This is because Meryem has been raised in an orthodox Muslim sect that holds a female responsible for protecting her virginity which, if lost out of wedlock, reflects badly on all of her relatives, even when taken by force.

In this case, Meryem's mortified father, Tahsin (Emin Gursoy), and stepmother, Done (Sebnem Kostem), convene a family summit during which their still-dazed daughter is condemned to death in accordance with the ancient principal of tore. "You've sinned," Done explains, handing her a rope with which to hang herself, adding "If you commit suicide, maybe you'll go to heaven."

bliss

But when Meryem balks at the request, her coldhearted Uncle Ali (Mustafa Avkiran) volunteers the hit man services of his son Cemal (Murat Han), who's in the army. So, Cemal is summoned home to execute his own cousin, and he takes her to Istanbul to perform the honor killing.

However, as the two talk en route to the city which was once Constantinople, Cemal becomes increasingly reluctant to rationalize murdering Meryem the more he comes to suspect that her chastity had been taken against her will. Then, they are befriended by Irfan Abi (Talat Bulut) a thoroughly Westernized professor with a yacht and bikini babes who turn Cemal's head. This unanticipated development makes the soldier feel conflicted, and even more of a foolish hypocrite for his blind adherence to such backwards ways of thinking.

Will the 21st Century schizoid man abide by the strict, Muslim moral code, or will he grant his cuz clemency at the 11th hour? That is the burning question at the center of Bliss, a haunting, cross-cultural thriller based on the incendiary best-seller "Mutluluk" by Omer Zulfu Livaneli. Visually-enchanting at every turn and expertly-executed by a gifted cast, particularly Ozgu Namal as Meryem in the picture's pivotal role, Bliss is the damning sort of flick I fear the Taliban is likely to issue a few fatwas over.

When modernity meets the Middle Ages, something's gotta give.

Excellent (4 stars)
Unrated
In Turkish with subtitles.
Running time: 105 minutes
Studio: First Run Features

To see a trailer for Bliss,

Kam Williams is a syndicated film and book critic who writes for 100+ publications. He is a member of the New York Film Critics Online, the African-American Film Critics Association, and the NAACP Image Awards Nominating Committee. Contact him through NewsBlaze.

  Please click this get stories by email button to be notified about future stories, and please leave a comment below.

  Please leave a comment here     If it does not display within 10 seconds, please refresh the page

Related Movie Reviews News

Directed by Pat O'Connor (Sweet November), the screen version is an intriguing romance drama which takes a sharp turn about midway through when Tommo and Charlie enlist in the army and ship off to serve their country in Flanders' fields.
Before the month of October ends, here are the must-see movies to give viewers thrills and chills on the Halloween weekends.
Kam Williams interviews Haley Joel Osment, who played Cole, in The Sixth Sense, as the boy with the iconic line, I see dead people. Now in Sex Ed.
Seemingly a satire in some ways, of Keaton's ambivalent transformation into Tim Burton's Batman a quarter of a century ago, Birdman appears to be Keaton's venture into unprecedented extreme acting.
For movie fanatics and couch potatoes, are you ready to relax and indulge in a stress-free weekend? Well, here are top 10 DVD releases for the week!
It's a movie marathon, and here are some must-see movies to shoo away the boredom and be on trend on what's new and hot flicks for this month!

 

NewsBlaze Writers Of The Month



Popular Stories This Month

newsletter logo

NewsBlaze
Copyright © 2004-2014 NewsBlaze Pty. Ltd.
Use of this website is subject to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy  | DMCA Notice               Press Room   |    Visit NewsBlaze Mobile Site