Can a movie be a magical fable and yet be 100% realistic in tone? I think so. Fatih Akin’s far-fetched tale of intertwining (yet unaware) characters all searching for one another works on many levels. Most of all, lets face it, as soap opera – this is a damned good yarn! The exchange of cultures (much like Head-On we open with Turkish immigrants in Germany) and larger issues of individual freedom all kinda take a back seat to the deftly moving momentum of the story story story. When two hours are up you feel like you’ve been with these people for years, in an almost exhausting way. All of the characters, even the dirty old man, are good people; none of them ever get to share this fundamental goodness with anyone else. Except for the same-sex couple at the heart of the story and their wonderful, crystalline first kiss – wrapped up and presented to us in one miraculous long take.
It is interesting because Head-On, which I named as my top film of 2005, is loaded with style. Crazy cutting, flashy camera work and loud loud music. Very little of that is on display here. In fact, were it not for the inherent excitement of location photography (Istambul, Hamburg and the Black Sea) I’d go so far as to say that The Edge of Heaven’s aesthetic is a little bland. Which makes the aforementioned tracking shot all the more remarkable.