2004 [GERMAN]

Action / Drama / Romance

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh91%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright93%
IMDb Rating7.91054458

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Plot summary

Uploaded by: FREEMAN


Top cast

Sibel Kekilli Photo
Sibel Kekilli as Sibel
Mehmet Kurtulus Photo
Mehmet Kurtulus as Barmann Istanbul
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
1 GB
German 2.0
24 fps
2 hr 1 min
P/S ...
1.94 GB
German 2.0
24 fps
2 hr 1 min
P/S 2 / 6

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by gradyharp8 / 10

Harsh, Gritty, Tough...Very Moving Film!

'Gegen die Wand' in German, 'Duvara karsi' in Turkish, or 'HEAD-ON' in English is an explosive drama written and directed by Faith Akin, a movie that may be tough to watch, but a movie that has enormous impact. While other films have successfully addressed the particular problems that the immigrant Turkish community in Germany face, few have come as close to examining all sides of the on-going issues of displacement and the effects of familial dispersal in the face of a new culture.

Cahit (Birol Ünel) is a thirty-something lost soul, drinking and snorting himself into oblivion over the loss of his beloved wife. He lives in a slum, spends all his time in sleazy bars getting beaten up for inappropriate behavior until one night he drunkenly drives into a wall (?suicidal?) and ends up in a hospital where he 'meets' Sibel (Sibel Kekilli),a young woman who has again attempted suicide as an escape from her strict family's prevention of her having a life. Hearing Cahit is Turkish, Sibel nonchalantly suggests they 'marry': Sibel's only way to escape her family would be to find a Turkish husband. Though grossly mismatched, the two agree to an 'open marriage', they satisfy Sibel's family, and move in together. Sibel cooks and cleans Cahit's hovel, and then goes out and sleeps around. This arrangement eventually causes problems for each of them and Sibel moves to Istanbul to escape the horrors of the life she has chosen. Once alone, Cahit is confronted with the reality that Sibel is the only path to salvation for his tragic life and the story proceeds - or rather speed drives - its way to a heartrending finish.

The characters in the film are generally unlikable sorts, especially Cahit, but each actor does so well allowing us to observe the dreary world that faces immigrants in a fractured society that we end up having an amazing amount of compassion for their character creations. Director Akin makes this two-hour plus drama speed by with such solid purpose that it seems a short film. There is considerable nudity and the sexual encounters may be a problem for some viewers, but Akin's cinematographer Rainer Klausmann makes everything work toward the ultimate message of the film. An interesting touch is Akin's choice of weaving a chamber music group of a female vocalist with Turkish instrumentalists as a chorus to comment on the action and keep us mindful that, though the film for the most part is set in Germany, this is a very Turkish story! Grady Harp

Reviewed by Horst_In_Translation6 / 10

The ballad of Cahit and Sibel

"Gegen die Wand" is a German/Turkish 2-hour film from over 10 years ago. It was not the breakthrough movie for writer and director Faith Akin, but it is probably his most famous work so far, and his most successful. It won big at the German Film Awards, European Film Awards and several other awards bodies, even if it was not chosen to represent Germany in the Foreign Language Oscar race. That's not a problem though as I don't believe this is a movie the Academy would go for. It was a bit of a breakthrough film for lead actor Birol Ünel and a definite breakthrough for Sibel Kekilli, who you may have seen not too long ago in "Game of Thrones". Lets talk a bit about the characters they play. Ünel plays a Turkish man who has basically fully adapted to life in Germany, without culture or religion. Without his name, you could think he is actually German. He also does not look really Turkish. But he is. And that is crucial as Kekilli's character wants to marry him in order to find peace with his traditional family. However, in reality and spirit, she is very much alike to her fake husband. She wants to have fun, sleep around, party etc., just live the life.

Both main characters have a talent for being self-destructive. The male has severe anger management issues that result in a moment which changes everything. The female has a drug problem, but is also too free-spirited for her own good, which may cost her everything on several occasions. Both lead actors play their parts very well and are the heart and soul of the film. The perception that Ünel is the only real lead becomes flawed when the actions starts focusing almost entirely on Kekilli's character two thirds into the movie. There are some very tense scenes in here and this may not be a good watch for younger audiences.

I wrote earlier that this is probably Akin's most known film. He has worked on several films that combine German (locations) with foreign (for example Greek and Italian) culture. Here we get his take on his very own roots as you can easily see by his name. It is probably also his most serious film. Many of his works have a fair share of humour and comedy attached to them. "Gegen die Wand" does not and that is perfectly fine, even if it's not the best choice to represent Akin's generally lighter body of work. I think it would not have fit the tone at all. This is a really good dramatic character study and I also liked that he does not go for a forced happy ending by any means. It also fits the description of my review. The movie deals almost exclusively only with the time in the two protagonists' lives, during which they know each other and deal with one another. At the end, he is her way into her past, into a world, in which she may be free, but is it worth sacrificing her present for this new life? It's a question you will have to answer for yourself just like Sibel did. A pretty good film and I recommend the watch. Quite tense from start to finish.

Reviewed by kosmasp10 / 10

Life, love, passion and death

Is life worth living under any circumstances? The movie has two central characters who seem to think not ... at least at the beginning. If that doesn't sound like a match made in ... hell, what does? And would that be a good thing? It depends on how you see things and if you are able to empathize. Which at least at the beginning may be quite difficult .. but the actors in this will sway you over.

And while the male protagonist was known for his acting chops, the female counterpart was quite surprising. At least for the viewers that is. And not just the ones that might have seen her other ... output/work in the adult business, but anyone who hadn't heard from her either. The demand of her other movies was quite high when this came out (I worked at a video store at the time - though I've never seen any of her "other" work or this movie until the other day, when I finally came around to watch this ... quite late I know).

Sibel Kekilli who some may have seen in the Game of Thrones series too, delivers a quite mesmerizing performance to say the least. You feel her innocence, her vulnaribility ... and yet her very fragile psyche too. You may drawn to her, like a moth to a flame - even though you know better. Or maybe you are just fascinated by how well she plays her role.

Head on is not just literally but also metaphorically ... will this relationship work and last ... and what will it do to the ones involved? Directly and indirectly! The movie can be fun at times, but is also very tragic in a larger sense ... not an easy watch at all ... but so well done and played ...

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