Lacking the hot-button lure of honor-killing-driven "Bliss," currently in limited U.S. release, Abdullah Oguz's latest is an equally polished but far more conventional, genre-bound tale unlikely to gather similar international support. This would-be Hitchcockian thriller about a yuppie couple's cover-up of an accidental death is too dependent on implausible behavior and coincidence, while laying on moral lessons with a heavy hand.

Lacking the hot-button lure of honor-killing-driven “Bliss,” currently in limited U.S. release, Abdullah Oguz’s latest is an equally polished but far more conventional, genre-bound tale unlikely to gather similar international support. This would-be Hitchcockian thriller about a yuppie couple’s cover-up of an accidental death is too dependent on implausible behavior and coincidence, while laying on moral lessons with a heavy hand.

Reluctantly taking pregnant wife Meryem (Ebru Akel) on a business trip to oversee salvage of a commercial vessel off a small coastal island, Yusuf (Hazim Kormukcu) is moody and short-fused — perhaps because the mistress he’s hidden from her has announced she’ll no longer suffer his broken promises in silence. Arriving on the isle after dark, the discordant duo’s SUV runs over a soldier who darts into the road. Though it’s clearly a mishap, Yusuf makes the baffling decision to bury the corpse nearby; authorities figure the missing man went AWOL. But the victim’s friend Niko (Cem Ozer) suspects otherwise, and fate conveniently places the guilty-acting visitors in his path. Vague social critique isn’t enough to deepen a drama whose contrived histrionics contrast with a sleek, handsome widescreen presentation.

Kismet

Turkey

Production

An ANS presentation. (International sales: Most Production, Istanbul.) Produced, directed by Abdullah Oguz. Screenplay, Ibrahim Altun, Oguz, from the novel by Altun.

Crew

Camera (color, widescreen), Ken Kelsch; editor, Levent Celebi; music, Cem Adrian, Hazim Kormukcu; production designer, Yelkan Iskorkutan. Reviewed at Montreal World Film Festival (Focus on World Cinema), Sept. 1, 2009. Original title: Sicak. Running time: 116 MIN.

With

Cem Ozer, Ebru Akel, Hazim Kormukcu, Gurgen Oz, Safak Karali, Burak Tamdogan, Asli Zen, Agop Cavusyan.
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