As the weekend draws ever closer, Netflix has added a new movie to its streaming service in the form of Grudge (aka Kin) – a Turkish crime thriller from director Turkan Derya. The movie is available to stream from today, stars Yilmaz Erdogan, Cem Yigit Uzümoglu and Ruzgar Aksoy, and tells the story of a police officer who finds himself at the centre of a murder investigation.
In the film, Police Chief Harun Çeliktan is on his way home from a special dinner (to celebrate being awarded Policeman of the Year), when he is kidnapped by his taxi driver and attacked. During the scuffle, Harun manages to overpower his captor, but the situation escalates and ends in the man’s death.
Realising this incident could be very harmful to his career, Harun cleans down the car to remove all evidence of his involvement, and leaves the body by the side of the road. He then heads home, hoping to distance himself from the crime.
The next morning, Harun receives a telephone call asking him to attend a crime scene at a construction site. The body of a man has been discovered in the early hours of the morning, and he has been strung up and left hanging from a crane.
Upon arrival at the site, Harun recognises the body as that of the taxi driver. However, he makes no comment about the man’s identity, and allows the CSI team to collect evidence. Over the next few hours Harun’s team begin to investigate the case, with Harun keeping a watchful eye on their findings. But while he believes he remains one step ahead of the investigation, Harun is unaware that a member of his team suspects his involvement in the murder and is beginning to zero in on the evidence.
Working from a fairly simple premise, Grudge is an interesting and effective little thriller, which places its focus on a morally compromised character. It asks the audience to invest time in him and to see how his journey will play out, before then opening up the narrative to explore wider themes of questionable choices and police corruption.
The story is very much centred around Harun, but Grudge wants to delve deeper into the reasons behind his crime. It makes it clear that Harun makes bad decisions, and there is no excuse for any of his actions, but there is also a little more going on than just a story about one rotten apple – this is about what happens when blight gets into the whole barrel.
Does it delve deep enough into these themes? Not quite, but it still works.
For me, some of the ideas bob a little too close to the surface, and I believe the film would have benefited from a few more twists and turns. However, that said, Grudge understands its limitations and despite my desire to see the film push itself a little further, it still presents an effective tale.
The movie does not have the privilege of a huge budget, yet it manages to squeeze everything it can onto the screen. In favour of huge spectacle, it relies on drama, and it certainly benefits from good direction and strong casting.
All of the key players drive the story forward, with Yilmaz Erdogan in particular offering up a believable turn as the corrupt police chief. Erdogan delivers a performance which highlights the anguish that is etched across Harun’s face, and even though the character is not one to champion, he is always interesting to watch.
Grudge is not the sort of picture that will appeal to everyone, but those who enjoy crime thrillers will find it entertaining. It leans closer to TV drama than it does big screen action, but it maintains its momentum, delivers on its premise, and provides a satisfying conclusion.
If you have a thing for this type of movie, and you are after something with a dash of suspense, then Grudge could be a film for you. Don’t expect a huge scale blockbuster, but if you are open to a more intimate tale about corruption then you will find something worth investing your time in.