Turkey’s first DV-to-35mm feature, shot in Istanbul last August, “9” is a smart idea that’s about an hour too long. An investigation into a killing through a series of cross-cut interviews with suspects, this first pic by Umit Unal, a scripter and novelist who also makes TV commercials, would seem better suited to the written word or legit stage, although it did inexplicably win best picture honors in the Turkish national competition. As a movie, its restless, repetitive style soon palls, limiting its future to specialized fests and vid-centered sidebars.
Entire pic is set in a dingy basement room (No. 9) where unseen interrogators question and film six inhabitants of a quiet district where a beautiful vagrant, nicknamed “Spike,” was found raped and killed, her face smashed with a rock. In separate sessions, the interviewees repeatedly contradict, try to blame and trash each other, revealing, in the words of one, “a river of hot lava beneath the dusty, dirty street.” Strong cast is led by Rafa Radomisli as a street bum nicknamed “The American,” Ali Poyrazoglu as a photo-shop owner, and Fikret Kuskan as an antsy young butcher. As well as crosscutting between interviews, pic also briefly flashes back to actual events.