The Ottoman Lieutenant

ottomanposterThe Ottoman Lieutenant (2016)
R | 1h 46min | Drama, War | 10 March 2017

Rated R for some war violence

Synopsis: THE OTTOMAN LIEUTENANT tells the story of Lillie (Hera Hilmar), a beautiful, strong-willed young woman who is frustrated by ongoing injustice at home and leaves the United States after meeting Jude (Josh Hartnett), an American doctor who runs a remote medical mission within the Ottoman Empire — a world both exotic and dangerous, and on the brink of what is about to become the first World War. There, she finds her loyalty to Jude and the mission’s founder (Ben Kingsley) tested when she falls in love with a lieutenant in the Ottoman Imperial Army (Michiel Huisman). Now, with invading army forces at their doorstep, and the world about to plunge into all-out war, she must decide if she wants to be what other people want her to be, or to be true to herself.

Thoughts: This film gets high marks for cinematography and costume design. You will find yourself plunged in to the Ottoman Empire during the onset of the first world war. The characters are solidly created and the setting of the mission hospital feels real enough. It would have been easy enough to create a flat, 2 dimensional backdrop in which to tell this story. But money was well spent were needed.

The script though lacks any sort of passion. Or if it was written on the page it is never delivered by the actors. The lines come across flat and void of true emotion. Even in the most tense of moments. Stiff may be a better word for the delivery. I simply didn’t believe them. Hartnett, Huisman, and Kingsley are all capable craftsmen. But somehow there is a disconnect here that is hard to see past.

It has strong themes though and not completely lacking of redemptive qualities. Fans of historical dramas will take the most from it. If you go in with limited expectations you may get your moneys worth; but not much more.