Is Netflix's 'Chokehold' a Riddle, a Rhyme, Or Sign of the Times?

Chokehold Boga Boga Kivanรง Tatlitug Yalin Netflix
Netflix

In “Chokehold” (“Boga Boga”), a man in hiding decides to move to the worst place possible to wait out an ongoing trial his plea deal hinges upon. As the Turkish Netflix movie begins, Yalin (a dynamically brooding Kivanรง Tatlitug) is barely surviving a financial scandal of his own making. He stole from clients who invested, believing they would hit it rich. They ended up the exact opposite.

Yalin seems oblivious to how angry those he stole from are at him. Instead of staying inside his palatial house, which looks like an Olive Garden, he regularly moves about the village. He takes little time to run into a particularly livid former investor. Things turn physical and violent. If Yalin thought he was looking over his shoulder before this incident, his neck gets more exercise afterward.

From this point forward, “Chokehold” toys with a sense of reality almost too surreal to be believable. Are we watching a man’s mental facilities fail him? Is any of this real? Or are we watching Yalin’s tortured allegorical nightmares? It is tough to know. Director Onur Saylak (“Hatirla Gรถnรผl”) sets the film at a slow, contemplative pace, allowing every scene to be savored.

“Chokehold” can be a trying experience for someone with limited patience. Hakan Gunday’s script comprises sparse dialogue and gradual character development. Yalin seems to learn nothing from each village encounter to the next. It is only with the film’s potentially divisive ending that the final puzzle piece seems to fall into place. With it, a powerful message is sent as it descends.

Unlike many, “Chokehold” does not play sides with its characters. It plays the story from several angles, leaning into each with unnerving uncertainty. The context surrounding the village and everyone in it changes with every scene. Yalin’s long-suffering wife, Beyza (a fantastic Funda Eryigit), centers the piece. Thanks to Beyza and the beauty of Turkey, the audience remains transfixed.

“Chokehold” is a riddle with a rhyme and reason to it that ominously calls upon the signs and headlines of the times. 

Fans of (“Chokehold”) Will Like This:

“Black Money Love” for the twists

“Who Were We Running From?” for Netflix intrigue

“Noise” for a slow-burning mystery

“Chokehold” (“Boga Boga”) is currently streaming on Netflix alongside a slew of other terrific Turkish series and movies.

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