- BOTTOM LINE
- A Turkish Screwball Comedy Minus the Laughs
|Platform Netflix||Genre Comedy|
What is the Story about?
It’s the city of Istanbul and Bahadir, a bridegroom who’s about to marry his lady love Nazli Noyan, falls prey to an outlandish bid on a mobile call to con him, in reference to a terror plot. After losing the money, Nazli’s father Asim Noyan, who also happens to be a full-time con-artist, is forced to resolve this case and win the lost amount back. Meanwhile, the father-son duo Ihasan and Naim too are fooled by another con-artist (who’s part of Asim’s team) in the garb of a businessman, who lures them with a contract. How would these two ends meet? The result is a confusion comedy, which despite its interesting premise, never gathers enough steam to make an impression.
Yilmaz Erdogan, who plays Asim, the leader of the con-gang, without doubt, gets the film’s most interesting role and he seems to have had fun playing. How often do you see such impressive characterisation for a lead actor in his 50s or 60s? The role demands him to be funny, headstrong and dangerous and Yilmaz does a fine job of making these traits come alive. The actor is most efficient in the sequences involving his daughter and future son-in-law. Bensu Soral plays a fairly one-note role of the daughter and proves to be a handful in her limited screen-time. Atakan Çelik, as an innocent youngster, is just about okay.
The director of the film, Yilmaz Erdogan, who also happens to be its writer and the lead actor too, is solely responsible for not translating a promising script into an equally promising film. Money Trap starts on a fairly engaging note, offering an insider’s peek into the daily lives of conmen and their gangs. The situations are ripe with enough potential for drama and thrills, but the director has no clue about ending his sequences at the right time. The focus veers from the plot towards unnecessary comic- subplots that have no relevance to the story.
The strained relationship between the lead protagonist Asim and his daughter Nazli could have held better emotional value. The journey between the two, about how the daughter revives ties with her father and convinces him to give up on his notorious profession, is wonderful material for a story and it’s a pity that the filmmaker doesn’t use this thread well.
The director tries hard to keep things in the lighter vein always, at the cost of emotional connect. His style of no-nonsense, no-drama filmmaking would have worked with more capable actors. Here, these subtleties don’t work, the comic-timing of an amateurish cast falls flat and makes you grow impatient about the film, despite its 2-hour running time. Minus the comedy, drama and innovative writing, there’s nothing to warrant your attention in Money Trap, but for its lost potential.
The supporting actors are the weakest link in the film. Though the lead actors pass muster, the limited abilities of the rest of the cast including Kivanç Tatlitug, Safa Sari and Güven Kıraç, their one-note characterisation dent the impact of the narrative. Miscast actors can ruin a film and this is proof of it.
Music and other departments?
The music of Deniz Erdogan and Yildiray Gürgen is reasonably effective in contributing to the pulp-fiction atmosphere that the film aims to get into. The background score and a couple of the numbers are bass-heavy, raw, aptly resonating the pulse of the city and the genre in which the film is set. Several indie projects can take a leaf out of Money Trap about creating a background score that adds more spice to its atmosphere. The story written by Yilmaz Erdogan is a smart one that loses its charm in a muddled screenplay. The editing of the film is fairly neat and so is the cinematography that provides the right visual backdrop for its content.
The characterisation of the lead actor Yilmaz Erdogan
Reasonably interesting premise
Impressive background score
Long-drawn sequences with no impact
The poor comic timing of the supporting cast
Lack of any emotion in the father-daughter segments
Will you recommend it?
Money Trap Review by Srivathsan N