Saturday, December 4, 2021

Olanlar Oldu (2017)

A family is living a mostly idyllic life in the Aegean sea, though troubles abound. Oldest son Zafer is still suffering from a recent break-up, and his meddling mother attempts to play matchmaker, and get the two back together. His ex meanwhile is a shifty girl with a plan of her own that spells nothing good for the community. Zafer works as a sailing guide for tourists, and in his latest group meets tired actress Aslı, and the two quickly fall in love...

Olanlar Oldu (Bygones be Bygones) is another island comedy film by Ata Demirer, and is another fresh and enjoyable romp. There are many hilarious moments, a few weird ones, and it's an all-round good showcase of the locale.

I was a little worried at first when in the very first scene we're introduced to Döndü, one of the film's main characters, and she's played by Demirer in drag, with a shrill voice. I hoped the movie wasn't going to be as obnoxious as it seemed, and mercifully it wasn't, for the most part. The film divides its time well, with some devoted to Döndü, while Zafer snags the rest (not to mention other subplots).

There's plenty going on, and the movie wastes no time setting things up. It can get a little hectic at times, but never felt crowded, and I always enjoyed the events. The only issue is some things don't get as much resolution as they could have, namely the conniving tricksters, who presumably get away with the money since we never see them caught. I'm sure they were, so it would've been nice to see, but I do get why that wasn't included when there's already so much else going on.

Zafer is a good lead, masculine enough to be a typical Turk, while also having a believably sensitive side. Aslı is believable as a celebrity, as well as a regular woman just trying to unwind for a few days. She and Zafer share a good chemistry, precisely because he's not fawning over her like everyone else is, and instead treats her like anyone else.

Family matriarch Döndü is a meddler and a busybody, typical of an older mother. She straddles the line between fun and annoying, but her character's softer side shines through enough for us to not dislike her.

The villains are plentiful here. Local business rival and old flame Ibrahim is still holding a candle for Döndü, and is perfectly willing to wreck her cafe to see her in his arms. His cohort is eager to help, but has a plan of his own, to steal away Ibrahim's daughter (Zafer's ex), along with all his money. These young lovers are devious and bitchy, and well deserving of some punishment.

The rest of Döndü's family are decent enough, though not as distinct as the others. Their son is fun, though he's a terror in the pesticide-spraying scene. Squirt the rude asshole by all means, but not your granny's customers, you little bastard! Also present is Aslı's ex, who's still trying to win her back, and is tricked into doing several jobs around Döndü's house.

The other tourists in Aslı's party are a likeable bunch, and while they are a bunch of poshos, it's without coming across as boorish dickheads. Although seeing that one guy on his side in a speedo was a sight no-one ever needed to see!

That really is the best way of describing Olanlar Oldu. It's a movie populated by characters who could've been obnoxious dickheads if done wrong, but thankfully they all straddle that line perfectly.

The acting in Olanlar Oldu is all neat, with a diverse cast. Ata Demirer is a great lead, really feeling like a normal guy, in contrast with his other part. I also enjoyed him in his dual role. He has the capacity to be annoying, and probably would have been if he overdid it, but thankfully the character of Döndü doesn't appear too much, or act too in your face.

I found the romance worked well too. Rather than come off as forced or arrogant that the director pairs himself with a drop dead gorgeous lady every move, it comes off as sincere, showing that even portly guys can find love.

Olanlar Oldu is an absolutely gorgeous film. It's directed well, for a start, and it captures the natural beauty of Turkey's islands, coast, and sea perfectly. Everything, down to the colour of the water, the shape of the rocks, the green of the island, etc. There are other pretty locales too, with even the villains getting a beautiful hideout.

The music is all nice, and used well. There's one funny moment where the dramatic music gets really loud, until Zafer's friend actually tells him to turn it down, he can barely hear him! It turns out he was playing a CD the whole time.

Overall, Olanlar Oldu is an enjoyable comedy that managers to keep your attention the whole time. And above all, the film teaches you how to make Turkish raw fish, and how could you dislike any movie that gives you an exotic recipe?...

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