Well, I guess it had to happen sooner or later. After 22 movies at this years Viennale that I more or less enjoyed, “Abluka” was the first one that I didn’t really have much use for. In that way, it reminded me of the other turkish movie that I’ve seen in 2015, “Baskin”, which left me equally cold – but that one at least had a nice setup and was pretty to look at. A similarity that they shared, however, is that they both started quite promising and strong, but then derailed almost by the minute.
In the interest of full disclosure, however, I have to point out that one of the main reasons that I didn’t really like this movie is that I didn’t get it. Feel free to put the blame for this on me, but it doesn’t change the fact that I never really connected with it. “Abluka” already started in a way that made me unsure if I was supposed to take it literally, or if it was meant as some sort of abstract metaphor. For example, everything about the younger brother and his job of shooting stray dogs at the behest of the city. Is that something that is really going on, or was this meant to allude to the persecution of certain ethnic groups, like during the Holocaust? The movie isn’t helped by the constant jumps through time when we switch from one brother to the other, as well as the fact that both of them turn out to be unreliable “narrators”. Far too soon, I didn’t have any idea any more what was going on, what was real and what wasn’t, and while some may find that fascinating, I more often than not find it rather irritating and/or frustrating. Because if I have no idea what the fuck is going on, I also have no reason to care about any of it. I also found the movie to be far too long, which is especially damning since I ended up pretty bored very soon, and thus for most of its running time. At least it was well shot and had a nice, nightmarish atmosphere. But all that’s for nought if you, like me, don’t find a way into the movie.