Breaking bad in the interests of justice
“Even a good guy can turn into a bad guy for justice” is the central tagline of this new Turkish film on Netflix. It is quite a powerful indictment of the film’s central concoct of its protagonist Sadik. However fracted the tagline may sound, the film remains true to it until the very end.
10 Days of a Good Man was a long time coming. Its original release date was back in February but perhaps the tragic earthquakes in Turkey pushed the date back. 10 Days is essentially a murder mystery but has a noteworthy character study of who Sadiq was and what he chose to become in the end. It is entertaining, emotional, and meaningful without bringing on board the red flags of those qualities.
Sadik is a former lawyer disbarred from the Bar. He even spent time in jail for his wife Rezzan’s crimes, who did not wait for him and married another wealthy man, Arif. Sadik lives in a decrypted apartment with no real attachments to the outside world, except his sweet-hearted prostitute neighbour Seval.
He gets a phone call from Maide, his wife’s friend who runs a law firm. Her babysitter’s son, Tevfik, has been missing since a month and Sadik is tasked with finding him. He does not have many clues to start with but one dot leads to another and Sadik is able to get to the crux of it.
The journey does not come easy, though. The more Sadik digs, the more he finds the prospects of discovering Tevfik dwindling, while also making a few friends and enemies along the way. While he handles the case, Sadik also goes through a personal change – from a good man to a bad one – or does he? The film definitely throws a moral challenge with that last predicament. It is beautifully balanced at the tip of how people perceive Sadik in the cinematic universe and the real-life implications of his choices.
The title itself is a trap and creates an illusory expectation for the viewer. But the reversion of anticipation is how 10 Days guarantees that you do not leave the movie feeling bitter. For its minor pitfalls of languid pacing, the film has a solid foundation in the plot. Even though the characters and subplots are not appropriately grounded in it, we still get a compelling narrative. One has to really dig through diversions and unimportant interferences to follow the story. But doing that is well worth the time, given what is at the other end.
Feminist sensibilities are truly the ones that stand out in 10 Days’ thematic web. Consistently, Sadik finds women in his life and around him who are subjected to brutality and crime. At times, he finds himself unable or unwilling to help them. There are others as well who want to take advantage of Sadik. But he has to bear the maelstrom himself.
Visual cues like Sadik’s winter coat and his torn-down apartment play a pivotal part in setting up his character. It is not exactly a pleasant picture that they paint but the movie begins the point when Sadik comes of age during the course of the concerned 10 days.
There is an immensely likeable and palatable flow to the movie. While its pacing is a little slow, the flow ensures a seamless ride. The film’s editors must take a bow for it is their skill and craft that prevents any disjointedness in the narrative. The transition from the first to the second to the third act is quite impressive. Every day has its own significance in shaping Sadik at the end of day ten and the editors realize it. They weaponize glimpses from the past; the baggage that Sadik is carrying and superimpose his old sensibilities on the changing ones.
Nejat Isler gives a commanding performance. He is convincing in both facets of Sadik. Even when he becomes the rather selfish version of himself, Isler gives Sadik enough emotional authenticity to be likeable. It is all about if you are able to get behind him and follow his story and Isler manages to do that exactly.
10 Days of a Good Man is a unique feat that manages to combine an intense character study in the backdrop of a constantly unfolding mystery without letting either blemish the other.
Read More: 10 Days of a Good Man Ending Explained
Verdict - 7/10