Coming on the second Friday of 2021 is Turkish film Stuck Apart that follows a man called Aziz who is going through a dire existential crisis, which I’m told is common the older you get; the more life moves by, the more regrets. So here we have a fictional case study, supposedly laced with comedy and drama. The film builds a narrative that Aziz craves youth, and he’s depressingly unhappy with his private and personal life; even his family are deeply involved, which compounds a vicious issue. He wants to be alone, and he wants freedom. He’s an introvert’s dream.
Apparently, Netflix’s Stuck Apart is a comedy, but it plays entirely like a drama that beats the same miserable drum. Audiences know that existential crises are boring; if you see a family member or friend go through one, it’s hardly a surge of entertainment. In film form, it’s best not to truly reflect how boring they are. The script fails to shine any form of amusement, vying for dark comedy but ending up with a numb plot. And while some will argue that this is meant to be a reflection of mental health, the shot back is that it’s also meant to be funny.
Rather than inject the script with personality, it strips any chance of energy from the lead character and reduces him to a pulp of glumness. The film is on point with the theme, but its loyalty to it offers no favours. Frankly, it’s a snooze-fest, and while the performances are okay, the Netflix film is hardly indicative of refined character profiling.
So while the lead character’s existential crisis is apparent, it lulls the audience into the same downcast mood, and the last thing we need after a horrendous 2020 is to overthink our purpose in life. Stuck Apart misses a key ingredient — a personality of any kind. This is a dud.
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 movie 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 is also 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.”
Stuck Apart is now streaming on Netflix.
Read our other reviews here.