Five Minarets in New York review by Melissa Orcine - Cinema Paradiso
From Turkish writer-director Mahsun Kirmizigül comes a riveting tale of two Turkish police officers sent to New York City to retrieve the notorious Islamic terrorist, code name: DAJJAL, in ‘Five Minarets In New York’. What starts out as a routine police undertaking becomes an international issue of terrorism and the politics that accompany it.
Mahsun Kirmizigül is a capable film maker; the first scenes of ‘Five Minarets In New York’ is action-thriller gold. By the first sequences, you are already hooked, but the film is much more than that. The Turkish officers, Firat Baran (Mahsun Kirmizigül himself) and Acar Dogan work closely with the FBI, particularly a bigoted agent (Robert Patrick) and NYPD to find Hadji Gumus, now a well-respected Muslim scholar who’s been imprisoned in Turkey but lives in New York City with a wife and children.
From there, the plot thickens. We become embroiled in the burgeoning tension amongst the law enforcers and the terrorist whom they have captured. When we find Hadji’s American friend and sympathizer (Danny Glover), things only get more complicated. What used to be a simple person transfer has become a test of wills.
‘Five Minarets In New York’ is an action film but it cannot be helped that it raises many political themes as well. Sure, the terrorist in question –Hadji— is Muslim yet it does not pre-suppose that all terrorists are. In fact, Hadji is the most unlikely terrorist: educated; a family man who lives a quiet life. You may say that ‘Five Minarets In New York’ is the anti-‘Four Lions’, another film that centers on terrorists. With the comedy ‘Four Lions’ it made Muslims more human and bungling at that; in Kirmizigül’s take, Muslims are just like us.
There are also questions of freedom; in Hadji’s case, he fled Turkey because he claims he is innocent. When your freedom is being threatened, wouldn’t you do just about anything to keep it? The film is worth watching.