Chiko is a gritty realist German gangster movie from Turkish-German director Özgür Yildirim set in a suburban drug hell hole in Hamburg, Germany.
Chiko(Denis Moschitto) is a young Turkish-German like many young people of the world wants to do better for himself, get out of the poor conditions. Isa (or Jesus in English)is his correct name but prefers his tattooed name of Chiko with the aid of his best friend Tibet (Volkan Özcan) they beat up a local drug dealer which attracts the attention of big-time local drug Kingpin Brownie (major German actor Moritz Bleibtreu) whom liked what they did and invites the pair to work for him.
Starting as weed dealers things start good and look up for the pair, but resentment and jealousy creeps and thinking only about his sick mother Tibet decides to swipe a bit of their stash to sell himself to pay for his mother’s treatment. He has people everywhere and it was just a matter of time before he found out and Brownie dishes out some brutal punishment on the greedy Tibet with both only 5 minutes in Brownies door Chiko& Tibet plan to take Brownie out.
Moschitto pull off a brilliant performance as a sympathetic character as his loyalty to his friend and Brownie is seriously tested, he tries his best to be diplomatic but at a short moment, he could turn into a psychotic maniac when need be. This character is only down to his desire to stay in Brownie’s good books and Chiko ends up like a real Jekyll and Hyde character with no clue what direction to turn to.
You can see Yildirim try’s to portray Chiko like how Vincent Cassel done with Jacque Mesrine especially in his mannerisms, but Mesrine this ain’t but what can say Chiko is more like a Tony Montana type character. This movie is also another fine example of how far American pop culture still influences the world not just in fashion, music and culinary tastes but also in vocabulary as the main characters use the words like ‘bro’, ‘dude’ give the movie it an urban feel.
One other thing I did like about the movie and enjoyed was Ozcan’s character Tibet whose friendship with Chiko just went downhill as the movie progressed. You were sympathetic, feeling sorry for him a man who only had good intentions thinking about his sick mother but you were also angry at how stupid at how resentful he was and only thinking about himself, not the others involved. Both had the same goals in life but jealousy got in the way and made things worse for all.
This is a violent movie but the violent graphic scenes were kept to a minimal and what scenes they were when done in a more ‘tastefull’ but still gave the impression of a violent movie. The ‘American Dream‘ of a poor man rising from the ashes were done well and I got the feeling that if your down and you get involved in drug to buy your way out of poverty, selling is like taking it’s a quick fix and you always come back for more sinking even further into the dark underbelly . Sadly there are people in towns & cities worldwide who are in a very similar position as Chiko and just cant get out the dream will only last so long before you’ll get caught.
My only real criticism of the movie was the movies shift from an urban gangster movie into a revenge movie of retribution but the movie is saved by the bell with its dramatic ending that no one suspects.
Chiko is a gripping urban tale of small-time crook cum big timer which is tense, brutal and he may not be Jacques Mesrine but Chiko is a worthy DVD to any gangster movie fan’s collection, good stuff.
★★★★| Paul Devine
Crime Drama | Germany, 2008 | 18 | eOne UK | 28th June 2009 (UK) | Dir. Özgür Yildirim | Denis Moschitto, Moritz Bleibtreu, Volkan Ozcan, Fahri Ogun Yardim, Reyhan Sahin | Buy:Chiko [DVD]
First Posted at Cinehouse | 30th June 2009