April 23, 2024

Ashes 2024 Movie Review

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Ashes 2024 Movie Review

Kenan (Mehmet Gunsur) f—s up. Hard. Real hard. Right here in the first scene of the movie, where he hosts a party and gives a toast and praises the highly successful publishing company he inherited from his father and now affords him a swanky lifestyle with a giant ultramodern house with not a single soft corner anywhere to be found, and oh by the way, it’s his 10th wedding anniversary to Gokce (Funda Eryigit), hooray for that, and she’s great because she reads all his manuscripts first. How would you feel if you were Gokce, listening to this asinine-ass speech? She blank-stares at an appetizer platter like she made a big mistake and is stuck with it. Later, she and Kenan have the sex, and the sex is such that she just mannequins right the f— out. This guy. I think it’s pretty clear that he sucks. Sucks 200 ’83 Chevette tailpipes.

Gokce plucks a manuscript off the pile. It’s titled Ashes and the first line reads, “Ashes will never burn” – the type of first line that makes you want to see how flammable this manuscript just might be. Gokce feels differently, though. She’s enraptured by this story told from a woman’s point of view, detailing her obsession with a man only identified as M. Gokce owns a boutique that seems to specialize in selling sideboob dresses, possibly because she loves to wear sideboob dresses, like, almost every day. Such is the life of the vacant rich, I guess. I wouldn’t know. But Gokce can barely concentrate on keeping the racks full of racky garb. She’s so enthralled by Ashes, which seems to be not entirely fiction. It describes M as a carpenter who frequents a bakery in the Balat neighborhood of Istanbul, an area where heavily moneyed sideboobers fear to tread, because it’s full of soft corners. But she goes anyway, and whaddayaknow, she spots a hunky carpenter picking up some carbs, and stalks him to his carpentorium, which, unlike her own house, is cluttered and naturally lit and actually looks like actual humans actually live there.

And so Gokce talks to Metin (Alperen Duymaz) and orders a new mirror for the sideboubtique that she doesn’t need, then goes home. She gets to the eroitque portion of Ashes and, for a moment, engages in a little kinky foreplay with Kenan, who then climbs on and MEH. Poor woman. Metin brings the mirror by the shoppe and Gokce seems to enjoy watching him muscle it around the place. They have lunch together, then she entices him to take her to a “secret tower” in Istanbul that has a great view – she read about it in the book, but he doesn’t know that she knows about the book and when he asks her how she knows about the tower, she’s all cagey. She wears her finest sideboob dress for climbing ladders and such, and they share a damn magical moment up there, where ashes float through the air and the light is succulent. They kiss. But this doesn’t QUENCH her LUST. Will she QUENCH her LUST? I’d say NO SPOILERS but you damn sure know that this isn’t the type of movie where LUST goes UNQUENCHED.

Ashes doesn’t have the chutzpah to lean into its own campiness and therefore be, you know, entertaining. So much effort was expended on creating visual contrast between the pristine right angles of Gokce’s life and the dusty rumpledness of Metin’s existence that everyone forgot to create and develop characters with substance. They’re paper dolls fluttering around in the tepid breeze of a simplistic quasi-thriller plot that barrels ahead before plummeting to a laughable conclusion that’s supposed to be tantalizingly mysterious but is just vague and dissatisfying. Shoulda put some more thought into this one, guys.

But, you might be asking, is it hot? Well, THE sex scene here stirs a little heat, but not enough to widen our eyes, or make us laugh more than just a little bit. So much for that, eh? The psychology of the situation is tangled – both of our leads are indulging in deeds of varying degrees of extramaritalness – but ill-defined, and any potentially compelling questions remain unexplored; e.g., the term “fictophilia” turns up in the final 10 minutes when it should’ve been introduced in the first 10, so the seed would be planted and grow into something weird and interesting. Director Erdem Tepegoz indulges a few deeply silly fantasy sequences in which Gokce is submerged in a bathtub with pages from the Ashes novel clinging to her body, and if they’re supposed to be sexy or suggestive or symbolic, you’ll be too busy rolling your eyes at the overwrought and ridiculous tone of these scenes to be sexually or psychologically aroused by them. That bathwater looks to be about as lukewarm as our reaction to this movie.

Ashes 2024 Movie Review