Monday, 27 April 2015

REVIEW - THE CUT (FATIH AKIN)


Telling, and deeply distressing, that one of the first and only thorough accounts of the Armenian genocide on film should be such a shoddy product, cobbled together from sporadic international funding, pieced together with parts of a wayward narrative never quite coalescing. It's a disappointment in and of itself, The Cut, and an unfortunate misfire from a filmmaker whom few expected to fail like this. Fatih Akin is not known for this type of film - he seems to substitute his signature verve for a more classic approach, but pursues the wrong elements of this tragic tale and in entirely the wrong manner, and loses his way. Akin usually does messy complexity in his work, which The Cut ought to be smothered in - instead, he dwells upon broad, browbeating emotions and a prosaic plot that undermines the horror and the sadness that are this film's true centre. It's undeniable, the impact that much of The Cut has, with its grave tragedy and shocking brutality, but Akin seems only concerned with depicting a chronicle of pain, rather than contextualising it. His technique is effective but brutishly so, and he risks trivialising an atrocity that has already been dismissed too much by too many. Pertinent points seem to rise accidentally through the story's wide fissures, only to sink back into their depths as Akin and co-writer Mardik Martin advance the story swiftly, yet tiresomely (the film runs well over two hours). The decision to replace Armenian dialogue with English was no doubt influenced by financial pressure; it's distancing in its inauthenticity, and clumsily handled by an inept cast. Tahar Rahim yields great benefits, in fact, as his character's ability to speak is taken from him, and his performance transitions from hokey to heartfelt. Would that the film could have followed suit.