I mention that there may be a spoiler here just to be cautious because of what I discuss, although I don't really think I am giving away anything important. Any "suprises" are really unimportant to this film's success or a viewer's ability to enjoy it.
While not without some very minor flaws, this is a beautiful and very moving film about friendship, time, uncertainty, and the choices people make about their lives. Yet, at the same time, it is also a very humorous film, with small, mostly understated bits of comedy woven in throughout. For much of the film, it progresses at a fairly leisurely pace, but it does not seem slow at all since the film draws one into it and into the lives of the characters, and at first it is mostly rather light-hearted. Some have commented that much of the film seems slow, but it is such a wonderful portrayal of the lives of such sympathetic characters that one could watch it almost endlessly. As it progresses, the film becomes more emotional and moving up to the very end and the progression is handled wonderfully.
Eventually, some of the characters decide to rob a bank and although it is perhaps somewhat hard to believe, that is beside the point. It is a wonderful addition to emphasise the love that these friends have for each other while at the same time it accents the humour and adds a little more irony to the film. And, although hardly original to have a bunch of old guys rob a bank, the context and details are quite original and they do it wonderfully, making it really quite funny as well, such as when Ismet (if I remember correctly) exaggerates his aggressiveness to "disguise" the fact he's old.
As I said, most of the other comedy is rather low-key but still very humorous so I was constantly chuckling throughout.
The actors are probably the real key to this film. They imbue the characters with deep personality and sympathy and portray them with great care and warmth. There are some small transformations or tiny details of the characters' personalities which are pulled off smoothly and beautifully. Of course, the film is about the personalities of these very characters and how they care for and interact with one another. It succeeds so well because of them and if lesser actors had the roles the movie could well have failed.
Gule Gule is not without sadness, but that simply provides the full range of emotions and provides a more powerful experience. In fact, the film is so moving and filled with so much love from such rich characters that it is in the end a very heart-warming, satisfying, and even happy film despite its sadness. I could watch it over and over.
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