One-Way to Mediocrity
One-Way to Tomorrow is a Turkish rom-com that absolutely nails its characters but misses the mark with some stifled directorial choices. The story is actually pretty good though and there’s a nice twist halfway through that will almost certainly catch you off guard. From this point onward, the pace quickens and there’s a much better rapport with our two lead characters but it does take a while to reach this point. Even then, a lot of the film lacks the same energy and bounce you find in other rom-coms of its kind, making it feel a lot longer than it actually is.
The story is simple enough and follows a woman named Leyla who hops on a train and wind up sharing a compartment with a man named Ali. Given the train is fully booked and his friends have bailed on him, it’s a stroke of luck that Leyla is able to stay in the same room as him.
As the film progresses, the two get to know one another on this 14 hour journey and the motivations surrounding what they’re doing on the train – and where they’re heading – is revealed. This leads to a pretty satisfying conclusion to the tale as these two characters round out their respective arcs nicely.
Leyla and Ali do start off with some pretty stifled dialogue as they dance around what to say to one another. This leads to a lot of silence throughout the first half and while intentional in building uneasiness, it actually causes the film to start dragging and becomes awkward to watch at times. When the dialogue flows and the two start to converse however, the film does improve but expect a good 40 minutes before you reach that point.
Both Leyla and Ali bounce off each other nicely and their chemistry grows over the course of the film, typified by the second half which captures this beautifully. It’s at this point One-Way to Tomorrow starts to build up a nice sizzling amount of energy but unfortunately this arrives far too late in the game, ending just as things start to take off.
One-Way to Tomorrow’s biggest problem though comes from its editing and directorial choices. Early on there’s no music and instead the silence we’re graced with is accompanied by multiple zoom shots and hand-held camera movements. Dialogue is fractured and lacks energy during these scenes, while the simple framing does little to help build the film up and inject some much-needed pace into the picture.
It’s frustrating too because One-Way to Tomorrow has a lot of the core ingredients needed to create something really fun and enjoyable. The characters are the real star of the show but everything around them feels half-baked and in need of some serious tweaking to give the film the energy it deserves.
Some people will go into this and inevitably give up after 30 minutes and never see this one through to its conclusion. That would be a shame though because toward the end the film things do improve and there’s a nice story at the heart of this one that ends on a pretty satisfying note.
Next to so many other rom-coms of its kind though, One-Way to Tomorrow is a difficult one to recommend. Unfortunately, this is a train that’s unlikely to reach its destination with all its passengers still onboard.
One Way to Tomorrow releases 19/06/2020 on Netflix worldwide!
Verdict - 4/10