The story (fictional) of a Turkish intel team trying to stop a terrorist organization trying to conduct attacks in Istanbul. Due to differing positions of TR, the UK and the U.S. towards ...
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The story (fictional) of a Turkish intel team trying to stop a terrorist organization trying to conduct attacks in Istanbul. Due to differing positions of TR, the UK and the U.S. towards the issue, cohesion among allies will also be tested during the process.
Terrorism Thriller with a Strong Nationalistic Tone
Tolga Örnek's LABİRENT/ LABYRINTH follows in the footsteps of Ridley Scott's BODY OF LIES (2008) and Mahsun Kırmızıgül's Turkish thriller NEW YORK'TA BEŞ MİNARE/ FIVE MINARETS IN NEW YORK (2010) in its plot of local secret service agents foiling a terrorist plot to cause mayhem in the center of a big city - in this case, İstanbul.
Fikret (Timuçin Esen) and Reyhan (Meltem Cumbul) spearhead the agents' campaign with relentless persistence. Their lives are entirely devoted to work, so much that Reyhan seldom gets to see her daughter Selin grow up. Fikret certainly has romantic inclinations towards Reyhan but consciously suppresses them, much to his colleague Bülent's (Sarp Akkaya's) amusement. But then this is modern-day İstanbul, a city that never sleeps, where everyone has to be vigilant against possible bombings.
Örnek's thriller draws on some familiar - some might say tired - stereotypes of İstanbul as a hotbed of intrigue, where every innocent conversation on a street corner or in a çayhane (tea-shop) might be suspicious. One of the terrorists who blows himself up in a suicide bombing turns out to be an ex-learner at İstanbul University, which prompts the security forces to initiate a massive search on campus.
Other tired conventions include a deliberately suspicious relationship between members of different security forces. Fikret suspects Hugh Spencer (Martin Turner) of MI5, especially when Hugh offers an exchange of spies. Fikret's response is to accuse the British of being only fair-weather friends with Turkey; when the West's interests are threatened, everyone tries to get on with each.
On the other hand LABİRENT includes a strong nationalist element. Fikret is photographed in one sequence next to a large photograph of Atatürk; on several occasions he is shown in the secret services offices, a buzzing hive of activity in which everyone works long hours to solve the case. No one, it seems, will put personal before national interests. There is a strong sense of irony behind this nationalism, however; Reyhan receives a certificate and a medal from the authorities for her work on the case, while Fikret lies dead and buried in a newly-created grave. As in GELİBOLU, individuals have to die to preserve national stability.
The film also examines the nature of families, and how they extend beyond the domestic into the national and religious spheres. Many of the characters - both good and bad - are caught in a conflict of interests between these constructions of family, often leading to violent consequences.
Fast-moving, with an atmospheric score by Cavit Ergün (amongst others), LABİRENT gives new impetus to a familiar tale.
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