Koch Lorber presents
Fratricide (Brudermord) (2005)
"And the sons of those money-dreamers will have to shoulder a heavy destiny. Their souls will swim in no man's land."- narration
Stars: Erdal Celik, Xevat Gectan
Other Stars: Nurretin Celik, Bulent Buyukasik, Xhiljona Ndoja, Taies Farzan
Director: Yilmaz Arslan
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (violence, language, nudity)
Run Time: 01h:35m:19s
Release Date: 2007-02-13
DVD ReviewFratricide (Brudermord) is at its core an urban crime drama (set here in the dark underbelly of Germany) about the dangerous intermingling of Turk and Kurd refugees into the seedier part of town. It's one of those hopelessly bleak titles, where the bad guys may get their much deserved comeuppances, but at what price to the good guys. It comes from Turkish writer/director Yilmaz Arslan, and it's such a melting pot of diverse cultures that at times the whole thing seems almost alien, but then there are those bursts of tragic familiarity that apparently span any sort of cultural divide.
The story revolves around a pair of young Kurdish boys who meet at a refugee house in Germany and form a quick friendship that will eventually lead them through some very dark experiences together, crossing paths with a pair of Turks and a few other assorted troublesome types. Arslan clearly implies that the flood of Turk and Kurd exiles have left behind a poor homeland for the hope of a new beginning, only to find themselves at the bottom of the food chain in a country where the only real option for survival for them is within the criminal element.
Arslan balances the darkness with moments where the human side (flaws and all) of the characters are revealed, so it isn't just a block of gruff stock types doing what gruff stock types typically do in movies like this. Add that to the already large pot of cultural and ethnic angles to pull from that it almost makes the experience too heady of a mix for what could easily be passed off as another guns/thugs saga. Some of it seems rather foreign, some of it seems commonplace, and thankfully Arslan doesn't try to oversimplify the complexity of it all.
The issue of all of this seemingly unwelcome immigration—and the disposable disregard faced by those looking to try and better themselves—fills Fratricide with a heaping helping of stark indifference. Ugly stuff, really, and Arslan doesn't try to sugarcoat the situation. There's a sense of compounded futility, and even as we are meant to identify with young Ibo and Azad, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that they're just two more trodden cogs in a big wheel, where the bodies just keep coming.
Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: B-
|Aspect Ratio||1.85:1 - Widescreen|
|Original Aspect Ratio||yes|
Image Transfer Review: The anamorphic widescreen transfer reveals an extensive amount of grain, and overall colors tend to look slightly muted. Black levels are noticeably troublesome during some night sequences, but daylight sequences do look stronger. Edge detail is on the soft side, as well.
Not a remarkable transfer (good or bad) by any means, and actually none of the mentioned flaws should necessarily be a deal breaker on watching this one.
Image Transfer Grade: C+
Audio Transfer Review: Audio is presented in a combo platter of the original Turkish/Kurdish/German languages spoke by the characters, issued here in 2.0 stereo. Voice quality is clear, and though the mix lacks a dominant bottom end presence, the presentation is suitably average. Not much in the way of audio dramatics here. English subs are available.
Audio Transfer Grade: B-
Disc ExtrasStatic menu with music
Scene Access with 16 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
6 Other Trailer(s) featuring Hostage, May 6th, A Heart In Winter, Tiresia, Our Brand Is Crisis, Divine Intervention
Extras Review: Trailers are all that shows up under the extras column, with one for the feature and six others. The disc is cut into 16 chapters, with optional English subtitles.
Extras Grade: D-
Final CommentsThe spin on the standard issue gritty urban crime drama gets a cross-cultural facelift from writer/director Yilmaz Arslan, filling the screen with lost and disenfranchised Germans, Turks, and Kurds living on the refugee fringe.
Bleak but compelling.
Rich Rosell 2007-02-12