It’s rare for a film with such a despicable protagonist to be as compelling as this one. The cinematography is gorgeous and while the symbolism is a bit too on the nose, it’s very effective in delivering the message.
We review the Netflix film Chokehold (2023), which does not contain spoilers.
Chokehold (original title: Boga Boga), the Turkish thriller to land on Netflix, was written by Hakan Günday and directed by Onur Saylak. Set against the dramatic backdrop of the Aegean coastline, the movie follows a highly unlikable protagonist trying to build a new life for himself and his dutiful wife following a scandal.
Chokehold (2022) Review and Plot Summary
Upon first meeting Yalin (Kivanc Tatlitug), Chokehold’s protagonist, it’s clear he’s not well-liked in the picturesque village of Assos. While he grew up there, the homecoming is anything but warm, and even the village shopkeeper refuses to sell him groceries.
Yalin ’s wife, Beyza (Funda Eryigit), is as supportive as she can be and wants them to put the past behind them and start a new life.
Back in Istanbul, Yalin was a well-known and respected businessman. But it all came crashing down when a secret whistleblower revealed that he was operating a Ponzi scheme.
Many Assos residents lost their life savings, and some of them are willing to take justice into their own hands. When one junk store owner attacks Yalin while he’s shopping for a vase, he starts realizing how dangerous Assos can be for a man like him.
Despite the synopsis, Chokehold isn’t a film about a couple in danger from a group of unruly villagers. It’s a film about a man willing to go to any lengths to protect the only person he’s ever cared for; himself. And that includes becoming an unwilling serial killer.
While some parts of the film may feel a bit slow, there’s constant uneasiness and tension throughout the runtime. The protagonist commits his first murder within the first 10 minutes and continues on his downward spiral up until the very end.
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It’s rare for a film with such a despicable protagonist to be as compelling as this one. The cinematography is gorgeous, and while the symbolism is a bit too on the nose, it’s very effective in delivering the message.
Both leads give strong performances, but Tatlitug’s ability to aptly portray a character devoid of humanity is uncanny. Yalin is a fascinating character to watch because he’s such a horrible human being. He shows no remorse for his actions but is sorry he was caught. The murders are unplanned, but he doesn’t shy away from killing either.
For her part, Eryigit is fantastic at playing a woman who so desperately needs to believe her husband can be a good man. Her performance was nothing short of compelling, especially in the final act.
Is Chokehold good or bad?
Chokehold is a visually stunning, thrilling, and entertaining feature. The narrative and ending are quite infuriating, but that’s probably the point. We’re not supposed to cheer for Yalin, and we’re most definitely meant to hate him.
Is Chokehold worth watching?
If you’re looking for a dramatic thriller about a Ponzi scammer who takes more from his victims than just their savings, this is the film for you.
What did you think of the 2023 Netflix film Chokehold? Comment below.
2 thoughts on “Chokehold (2023) Review – a visually stunning thriller about a despicable human being”
The guys a classic victim. Every attack has been started by the other party. Not once has he been the aggressor. Betrayal one haggled b***h.
Glad he killed her, he obviously loves her. She would have talked him into doing the right thing other than betraying him. The betrayal was way off