Fatma review – a fresh angle on a serial killer story marred by idiocy

April 27, 2021
Jonathon Wilson 0
Netflix, TV Reviews
2

Summary

Fatma wastes a compelling premise on a woefully inconsistent and illogical thriller plot, and a character-driven conclusion proves too little too late.

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2

Summary

Fatma wastes a compelling premise on a woefully inconsistent and illogical thriller plot, and a character-driven conclusion proves too little too late.

This review of Fatma is spoiler-free.

Everyone loves a story about an unlikely serial killer, and Fatma, the new six-part Turkish series streaming on Netflix, fits the bill in that respect. It presents a woman, the titular Fatma Yilmaz (Burcu Biricik), who goes from cleaning homes and offices to killing a surprising number of people without much of a transitional period in-between. But that compelling hook is wasted on a plot that takes far too many turns into grating illogicality, getting so silly at times that the eventual character-focused, respectable conclusion simply feels like too little too late.

Fatma’s problem is that her convict husband, Zafer (Ferit Kaya), has gone missing after being released from prison and left her with responsibility for his extensive debts. When the show begins she’s borderline obsessed with finding her husband, whom nobody she knows seems to want anything to do with, which eventually leads her to cross paths with Bayram Karada? (Y?lmaz Ak), Zafer’s former crime boss whose office she cleans. Pointed in the direction of a thug to who Zafer owed a considerable amount of money, she ends up crossing a line from which there’s no real way back – and her continued efforts only result in more trauma and bloodshed.

“Trauma” is the word of the day as far as Fatma is concerned. As the brief season progresses it becomes clear that the protagonist is nursing a lot of it, some associated with her sister and their childhood, and some with the death of her son, O?uz (Mustafa Konak). Her worsening decisions only compound her sense of guilt, and Burcu Biricik proves the show’s secret weapon, providing a complex performance that sells the idea of a beaten-down working-class woman and a deadly avenger with equal sincerity.

The problem is Ozgur Onurme’s script, which is rife with contrivance, illogical plotting, and eventually some decision-making bizarre enough to constitute comedy – ill-fitting for such a determinedly humorless series. The complex idea of Fatma’s character is consistently undermined by having her behave like an impulsive idiot and somehow get away with it for longer than seems reasonable by having law enforcement and criminal elements be even dumber than she is. This kind of thing is anathema to a good thriller, and whenever Fatma threatens to become one it always falls flat on its face. There’s enough mystery to carry a determined viewer through all six episodes, and the payoff is decent enough, but there’s very little here that might be considered memorable in such a crowded genre.

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