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DVD Review

DVD cover

Five Minarets in New York


Starring: Gina Gershon, Robert Patrick and Danny Glover
Showbox Home Entertainment
RRP: £17.99
Certificate: 15
Available 07 November 2011

In Istanbul two of Turkey’s top secret agents are given the perilous mission to discover the identity of a dangerous terrorist known only as ‘Dajjal’. A world away in New York the FBi pick up a well-known Muslim scholar, Hadji, possibly the real ‘Dajjal’. Firat and Acar are swiftly dispatched to the States only to discover that Hadji is on the run. Their pursuit of the suspect will bring them face to face with what it means to be a Muslim in the post 9/11 world.

With the explosion of both Bollywood and films from Asia, other countries can often be overlooked, so it’s nice to get a Turkish film to review.

Five Minarets in New York (2010 - 1 hr, 37 min, 33 sec) is an action adventure film written, directed and staring Mahsun Kırmızıgül a well-known Kurdish singer–songwriter, actor and film producer.

The film opens with the Turkish secret service taking out a group of terrorists and immediately you know you’re in action adventure territory. This creates a schism in the film. On the one hand it attempts to be a thoughtful mediation on the Muslim condition, which does not sit well with all the running around and shooting, an element which ends up taking precedence in the film. It really is a case of the message getting lost in the medium.

You get the feeling that Mahsun Kırmızıgül wished to get the film a more international showing and to this end both Danny Glover and Robert Patrick also appear.

Messages aside, if taken on the level of a thriller then it’s as good as anything Hollywood has put out. The directing is slick, even if the repetitive sweeping shots of New York buildings aren’t anything you haven’t seen before. Likewise the action sequences are choreographed well and the acting is generally convincing. If I didn’t know I would have thought that this was an American remake of a Turkish film, rather than a solid native product.

This was always going to be a hard sell as too many people on both sides of the political divide view each other as political or religious stereotypes. The film also falls fowl of stereotypical portrayals of both the security services, the Turks are brutal in their approach, the American are outright racist to the Muslims and the bad guys motivations are not well thought out or convincing.

The film look pretty impressive with a good 2.35:1 print, sharp for a modern picture even if the overall frame is a little saturated. Audio options are a well-defined DTS-HD MA 5.1 mixed Turkish and English track or a serviceable DD 2.0. Subtitles are burned in with no option to watch the whole thing with subs.

There is not much in the way of extras, with a Production Gallery, the trailer and an introduction to cine Asia (22 min, 55 sec) which is an extended advert for the range which has appeared on other discs.

So, the film is an above average thriller which loses focus on the message.


Charles Packer

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