Friday, January 06, 2006


What makes watching self destructive behavior so compelling?

I found myself asking that same question several times while watching this movie. A part of me feels maybe I like it cause I can rejoice in the fact that my life is not as screwed up as the characters I'm watching. Another part of me, the storyteller, admires the artistry and commitment of the performances.

Well whatever the reason one likes to watch these types of movies, Head-On will satisfy that need. The Turkish-German movie is a fascinating look into the lives of two socially inept individuals. They are both drug addicted, suicidal, social misfits who crash through life seemingly unaware of the damage they leave in their wake. They find friendship, convenience and respect in their relationship. But problems arise when feelings of affection, and possibly love start to develop.

The movie was a hit on the film festival circuit, and was even on Roger Ebert's Jury Prize list of Best films in 2005. (Whatever that means.)

The movie benefits greatly from the strong performances of Birol Unel and Sibel Kekilli, who fully commit to the intense roles. There is a danger in their performances which offsets the almost soap opera type arcs that the characters endure. It's tricky stuff, that in lesser hands could come off as real corny, and over dramatic, but writer/director Fatih Akin manages to carry it off with honesty and passion. The material is also structured with stylized musical interludes in between major acts in the movie, it's an obvious tribute to a theatrical Greek Chorus, which at least for me, was more amusing than dramatically effective.

The movie is full of unpredictable moments of violence, and yet has surprisingly sweet scenes of affection that are uncanny in such a dark film.

If one is looking for an adult alternative to the popcorn pg-13 fare out there on DVD, make sure to check out this tragic love story, that's sure to entertain one's dark side.

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