What is the story about?
Aziz, a middle-aged guy, feels stuck in a rut. His relationship with his girlfriend Burcu bores him; his sister, brother-in-law and son have taken over his apartment and left him with no breathing space; and he is surrounded by friends and colleagues who are dealing with their own issues. What does Aziz do?
The most infuriating thing is to sit through a film that holds tremendous promise in patches but lets you down the rest of the time. This is, unfortunately, the case with Stuck Apart (“Azizler”). The premise of a quirky comedy with a middle-aged protagonist dealing with ageing and loneliness was fascinating enough, but the directors waste this premise by focussing too much on the humour instead of the poignant moments. The film is a hotch-potch of individual sequences that stand out either for their humour or for their vulnerability, but these sequences aren’t coherent and cohesive enough as a single narrative.
As the central character Aziz, Engin Gunaydin is okay, even if you sense that his life is going nowhere. But the real star of this film is Haluk Bilginer, who appeared on Netflix only a few weeks ago in Leyla Everlasting. As Aziz’s friend and colleague Erbil, who deals with loneliness and a terminal illness, Bilginer invests his frazzled persona with sincerity and goodness that is hard to miss. The rest of the cast are okay.
Music & Other Departments
Burak Kanbir’s cinematography is great, especially in that one scene where Erbil thinks he is seeing heaven while getting a CT scan. Yasar Kartoglu’s production design is okay.
There are two sequences that are terrific individually. The first one is when Alp, Aziz’s colleague, gets him over to his house for a party, complete with girls and booze—it proves to be a mirage when Aziz leaves, revealing Alp had hired escorts and made all arrangements in order to show off and make Aziz hang out with him. The second is when a psychologist examines Caner, Aziz’s bratty nephew, and tells his parents, “I’m sorry to say…..your son is a jerk.”
The tone of the narrative keeps shifting too much, rendering the film confusing.
Did I enjoy it?
I found a few portions very compelling.
Do I recommend it?
You can give this a go if you want to watch a Turkish take on urban loneliness.