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Son Osmanli is based on a comic strip (or graphic novel, depending on your view of the genre) and, in general, it is true to its origins. It is full of Hollywood clichés that have become the soul of every swashbuckler since the days of Douglas Fairbanks. Yet, this makes it more endearing as it pretends to be nothing other than a jolly old yarn. It is a Turkish film and the story takes place at a very important juncture in the history of modern Turkey. Turks are sensitive about and proud of their history. The place and importance of Ataturk assumed additional relevance in recent times as the fundamentalist forces compete with fierce secularism that was the great man's legacy. The film pays due respect to that without losing its sense of fun. In all, it is a more realistic depiction of the birth of the Turkish War of Independence that lead to the birth of modern Turkey than the humourless, abhorrent Mel Gibson vehicle, Patriot, was of the American Revolution.
Production values are high, direction is assured and the leads are competently cast. Kenan Imirzalioglu is perfect in the role of the dashing hero in the style of Errol Flynn. Cansu Dere, a classic Turkish beauty defaced by heavy make-up in the earlier scenes, makes an appropriate (if a little wooden) love interest. Other roles are also well handled, although the accents of the Turkish actors playing British officers fluctuate between amusing and absurd.
Each phase of the development is predictable, all the characters are stereotypical and each scene is a reminder of one Hollywood swashbuckler or another. Despite these, the film manages to convey the feeling of what it meant to be an Ottoman and how seemingly tribal, disparate forces connected to create a democratic nation out of the ruins of a fallen Empire.
Above all, the film is a feast for the eye and a lot of fun. It should rate among the best transitions of a comic book to screen.
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