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The sum of what to avoid in making a serial-killer movie
Well first of all, the premise of "Ejder Kapani" which indicated a vigilante-type serial killer being loose on the streets of Istanbul seemed interesting enough taking into consideration the lack of the same genre movies being made in Turkish cinema. And although the direction, music and performances from the cast are decent enough it is the story itself that moves on the fringes of utter stupidity. Sexual offenders who have been pardoned by the government are being killed one by one and it takes like more than 10 corpses for our detectives to realize what the hell is going on. OK I get the notion that Turkish law-enforcement may not be as familiar as their US counterparts with the concept of a serial killer but still we never even get a guess from any of the officers that they may be facing a different kind of criminal.
Ugur Yucel is the best thing about the movie, his portrayal of a tired, experienced detective who reluctantly pursues his last case before retirement is very strong. His performance alone -not the dynamics of the story- prevents his character to be a stereo-type. Kenan Imirzalioglu is also good in his role as well as is Sirri Sureyya Onder who makes out the most of his limited screen time but the rest of the cast are given little to do. And this is indeed the main problem of the story itself: there are very few characters. This is a big no-no especially in such a "who did it" movie. You understand who the killer is after 10 min or something in the movie mainly because there is no alternative presented by the plot. No red herrings of any kind. And because of that the director does what he has to do: refrain from giving any hints throughout the entire story just to reveal the identity of the killer rather conveniently at the end. In my opinion this is nothing but lazy writing.
The cinematography is not bad with some interesting lightning however the backdrops of the city of Istanbul is presented pretty awkwardly. We see the Galata Bridge like 6 times during the movie which gives the impression that all roads in Istanbul somehow leads to the Galata Bridge. Even the final scene takes place there but the question remains: Why? And dot get me even started on what is the biggest let down of Ejder Kapani: A total disregard for -the not so small- details. Only one example will suffice: We see the serial killer a lot of times during the movie. He always wears a mask however there are several scenes where his height is obvious to the eye by comparison with the characters he interacts. (like the scene where he is pursued by Ugur Yucel) He seems short let alone middle-sized. But the final revelation makes you think that the killer was a real master of disguise shrinking his height like 30cm when he is on his killing spree. An unacceptable error on the part of the film-makers which treats the viewer as plain stupid.
Another problem was with the sound, especially with the volume of dialogues. I had so much difficulty in understanding most of the dialogues after some point I had to turn on the subtitles. To sum up: Ejder Kapani is a decent effort although it lacks a coherent storyline and suffers from a low-tempo. The direction is not ground-breaking although it cant be critized much either. Only the performances of Ugur Yucel & Kenan Imirzalioglu & Onder save the movie from being a total Hollywood knock-off. All three of them succeed in staying Turkish while playing characters who we have seen for so many times in American movies. I believe that deserves nothing but praise.
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