Godspeed (2022) review – sentimental drivel with a surprisingly shocking twist ending

By Adam Lock
Published: May 23, 2022 (Last updated: February 6, 2024)
Netflix film Godspeed (2022)


Those who stick around until the end will be rewarded for their endurance, yet this emotionally manipulative drama doesn’t deserve any of your precious time.

This review of the Netflix film Godspeed (2022) does not contain any major spoilers.

The term Oscar bait has come to mean movies that specifically and shamelessly use emotionally triggering subject matter in a manipulative way to help amass shiny, gold awards (think The King’s Speech and The Danish Girl for example). The formula works best if a film targets a certain tragedy, in-vogue disease or disability. Throw in some prestigious talent and you are onto a winner. Godspeed will most definitely not be winning anything come award season, but it follows a similar mentality, cramming a film full of sentimentality and misfortune in the hopes of creating something memorable. That fine line between engagement and manipulation is a tough balance to strike, with the Turkish drama highlighting just how tricky it can be. This is, after all, sentimental drivel that only just about saves itself from obscurity with a compelling end.

Godspeed follows Captain Salih, a war veteran with a prosthetic leg, who finds most things in his everyday life prompt in-depth, clunky flashbacks to those traumatic times he’d sooner forget. Even a child playing hopscotch brings on the soldier’s haunting PTSD. He’s clearly a man on the edge, as the opening scene introduces us to the Captain as he robs a house, stealing money and a gun. Comical sidekick Kerim, his lieutenant and supportive friend, is also along for the ride, with both soldiers journeying across country with the objective of breaking off a wedding. Kerim’s soul mate Elif is being forced into wedlock and the marriage must be stopped. They drive Turkey’s picturesque highways in a vintage car making small talk and indulging in further robberies, heading towards this momentous showdown.

It is part road trip flick, part war movie and part rom-com, with splashes of political and social observations thrown in for good measure. A film that only matches its poor acting with inept writing, all the while aiming for poignancy in nearly all its scenes and failing every time. Take for example, the car they are driving in, Salih confesses, is the very same vehicle that his entire family died in, or a partridge that the disgraced captain steals from a convenience store is later shot dead when Salih finally frees the bird. The film is plagued with these forced and false emotional ploys, which just don’t work. Godspeed continually undermines its audience at every turn, expecting them to swoon over this sickly sweet melodrama, but they should expect more from their viewership.

Whilst on the road, we explore the soldier’s troubled pasts via conveniently placed flashbacks, Salih’s wife Duygu tries to track the fugitives down and the wanted duo bumps into an array of unusual characters. It’s a fast-moving piece that manages to keep you mostly entertained throughout, as we hurtle towards a surprising final third. Here the film defies all expectations and delivers the most shocking of plot twists. This revelation will be discussed in my ending explained article, but believe me, it almost saves the film from all its previous sins.

Netflix’s latest offering is a corny and contrived affair, where the filmmakers blatantly throw everything but the kitchen sink at this tragedy in the hopes of eliciting some kind of emotional response from its tired viewers. Manipulative drama at its worst. A clever twist almost justifies the horrors that proceeded it, yet they cannot go ignored. Watch at your own peril.

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