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

The documentary, Second Opinion investigates what two doctors say was a coverup of a toxic, but promising cancer drug, that may have been an effective cure.
Movie reviewer Kam Williams says the film. The Calling is tarnished slightly by periodic displays of grisly crime scenes apt to upset audience members averse to gratuitous gore.
Jeff Bridges eulogy for Robin Williams, plus James Scully reading at a Santa Cruz cafe, introduced by Adrienne Rich. Chris Butters reports.
Movie reviewer Kam Williams shares this week's Week's DVD Releases. Some of the titles are 'The Empty Hours', 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2' and 'Boardwalk Empire: The Complete Fourth Season'.
Movie reviewer Kam Williams shares his Top Ten DVD List for the week of August 12, 2014
Kam Williams reviews If I Stay, in which a bright 17 year-old cello-playing girl full of the bloom of youth is irreversibly altered by a head-on crash

 

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