Head-On (Gegen die Wand) movie review, Fatih Akin, Birol Unel, Sibel Kekilli, Catrin Striebeck, Guven Kirac, Meltem Cumbul. Review by Jeffrey M. Anderson
Rent DVDs From NetFlix Buy movies From Amazon Buy Posters From AllPosters

SPLICEDwire content is available for print, web, radio & PDA starting at just $99/month!
A scene from 'Head-On (Gegen die Wand)'
Buy movie posters at AllPosters.com
Courtesy Photo
"Head-On (Gegen die Wand)"
3 stars
(In subtitled German & Turkish)
123 minutes | Unrated
LIMITED: Friday, February 11, 2005
Written & directed by Fatih Akin

Starring Birol Unel, Sibel Kekilli, Catrin Striebeck, Guven Kirac, Meltem Cumbul

  • Fatih Akin

  •  LINKS for this film
    Official siteShowtimes
    at movies.yahoo.com
    at Rotten Tomatoes
    at Internet Movie Database
    Writer-director of 'In July' pulls the rug out from under his romantic characters in powerful 'Head-On'

     by Jeffrey M. Anderson (Combustible Celluloid)

    In Fatih Akin's earlier film, "In July," the German-born writer-director took an old-fashioned road movie romance (a variation on "It Happened One Night") and gave it a craggy, sun-baked sweetness.

    From the first 40 minutes of this new film, it seems as if he's doing much the same -- until he blindsides you with something new.

    It's a strange effect; Akin plays on the familiar to inspire relaxation and the anticipation of something comfortable and routine, but then snatches it away and delivers something darker. The knee-jerked reaction may be to resist, but that would be a mistake. "Head-On" is one powerful film.

    Meeting at a psychiatric clinic after they've both attempted suicide, a beautiful young woman, Sibel (Sibel Kekilli) proposes marriage to a shaggy, sad-faced, older man, Cahit (Birol Unel). They're both of Turkish descent, and Sibel figures that she can use this man, who picks up empty bottles for a living, to get away from her overbearing, traditional family.

    Of course, the two will fall in love for real. But when Cahit defends his wife's honor and attacks one of her former lovers, he goes to jail. Sibel wanders the city in a daze, throwing herself vacantly into unwholesome and dangerous situations.

    Akin's focus is always on the two characters, drawing out fully-rounded emotional centers for both. The storytelling flows naturally from this strong core. It helps that both actors burst with presence; Unel appeared previously in "In July," but Kekilli makes her debut here with astonishing force. "Head-On" also makes great use of nearly forgotten 1980s goth-punk music like the Sisters of Mercy, and it has the attitude to match.

    by Fatih Akin
    Buy from Amazon
    More new releases!
    or Search for

    SPLICEDwire home
    Online Film Critics Society
    All Rights Reserved
    Return to top
    Current Reviews
    SPLICEDwire Home