Directed by Onur Saylak, “Chokehold” is an engrossing slow-burner Turkish film that revolves around a crooked businessman, Yalin Sahin, and his wife, Beyza. The couple relocated from Istanbul to a village in Assos. Yalin had grown up there, and even now, there were faces he was familiar with. While his friend at the grocery store sought financial advice from him, the father refused to serve Yalin. From the get-go, it was evident that Yalin was a troubled man, but we did not know the reason. But eventually, a television broadcast revealed that Yalin was the mastermind of a Ponzi scheme, and to protect himself, he cooperated with the DA’s office and named his associates. While Yalin was released from prison until his next hearing, his partners were taken to prison, and their assets were confiscated. Yalin returned to his village to escape the mistakes he had made, but running away was not always the solution.
‘Chokehold’ Plot Summary: Why Did Yalin Murder the Villagers?
Yalin visited an antique shop to steal a present, but the shopkeeper recognized him. Cevdet had invested all of his mother’s money into Yalin’s scheme, and he lost it all. The moment he realized that the man who entered his store was Yalin, he was determined to kill him. Cevdet tried to choke Yalin, but Yalin overpowered him and struck him with an object in the head. Yalin was shocked and in disbelief after he killed the man. His instinct was to run away, but he realized he would be in trouble if the body was found. He hid the body in the woods and carried on with his life.
Yalin was soon interrogated by a state policeman, Selami Tokar, who doubted his involvement. His car was seen outside the antique store, and Selami believed that Yalin killed Cevdet after he tried to attack him. Due to a lack of evidence, Selami could not arrest Yalin, but he, too, held a grudge against him for losing his money. Selami warned him that even though he might not take immediate action, the villagers would destroy his life. Yalin lost his cool after meeting the policeman. He feared losing the liberty he had earned by cooperating with the prosecutor. The villagers sent him a message in the form of a dismembered snake, calling him “Mister Snake.”
Yalin lived in fear at his own house. He kept a knife and an axe close by to murder anyone who dared to enter. He noticed a shadow and started to follow it, but he soon realized that the man he was following was Cevdet. He had lost touch with reality as a result of the fear and panic that he experienced. While Yalin struggled to get over his first kill, he was soon attacked by another frustrated villager. He choked the man and hid the body in the woods with Cevdet’s corpse. While hiding the body, a handful of illegal immigrants noticed him, but the man in charge of them diverted their attention. Both parties chose to turn a blind eye to the entire situation. Yalin met the young man the next day. He made a deal with the man to help him cross the border to Greece in exchange for his truck. Yalin had committed murders; the villagers were against him, and it was only a matter of time before the truth surfaced. Running away was the only way he could protect his life, and he was ready to risk it all to start over again.
Why Did Beyza Destroy Yalin’s Life? Is Beyza Dead?
Beyza refused to leave the village when Yalin asked her to pack her bags. She wanted a second chance at life with Yalin, and all the while, she believed that their life in Assos would be different. But living a peaceful life with Yalin seemed almost impossible. She tried to reason with Yalin, reminding him that they did not have the money to start over again. Yalin unlocked his briefcase and showed her the one million euros he had kept hidden. Beyza was surprised to see how Yalin had not learned any lessons from his past mistakes. Instead of surrendering the money he earned by scamming people, he kept a million euros for himself. Beyza was hopeful that Yalin would become a better man after he lost all that he had wrongfully built, but he remained the same. Even after knowing how people were committing suicide because of him, he did not care enough to make it any better.
During their argument, Beyza revealed that she was the one who walked into the DA’s office and told them the truth. Yalin was considered a respectful businessman, and even the DA’s office refused to believe her. But when she showed them the evidence, they realized how cunningly Yalin had scammed the entire nation. Beyza chose to marry Yalin even though her parents never approved of him. But gradually, she realized how he was so full of himself, and he barely had any space for her. Yalin was surrounded by people who carried out his orders, and no one was there to expose the monster he had turned into.
Beyza believed that after losing all his wealth, he would learn a lesson and live an honest life. But she realized that he never intended to change; he was simply waiting for the world to forget his crime. She chose to be with him even after everyone else left, but she decided that she had had enough. Yalin fumed with rage as Beyza prepared to give the money to the DA. He hit her on the back of her head with a hammer, and she collapsed to the ground. Yalin was proud of himself after killing Beyza. It was his way of reminding her that he was still the powerful businessman of Istanbul who was capable of punishing those who dared to break his trust. Yalin’s ego never dies, and even though he initially thought he could become a better person, in the end, he accepted that he was a wicked man who did whatever was necessary to survive.
‘Chokehold’ Ending Explained: Why Did Yalin Decide To Stay Back?
Yalin had a boat waiting to take him to Greece, but he decided to ditch the plan. After murdering Beyza, he refused to live in fear. She was the only person who was honest with him, but he never cared for it. Instead, he preferred living around those who believed in his scheming ways and called him a genius every now and then. Instead of running away with the one million euros to start a new life, he offered the money to the villagers. It was perhaps way more than what they had invested, and the villagers happily accepted it. Their behavior toward Yalin changed. After receiving the money, the policeman, Selami, decided to ignore the missing person cases. Since many left the village to travel across the sea, he was ready to consider that the three victims did the same as well. When Yalin mentioned that his wife had left the village, no one questioned him about her. The villagers brought him fresh fruits and made him breakfast.
“Chokehold” ends with men gathering in Yalin’s backyard, eager to learn about his next move. Even though the ghost of Beyza would continue to haunt Yalin, his life would not be affected. He created his safe space in the village by buying the villagers. All he had to do now was wait for the world to forget about his Ponzi scheme, and soon he would be back with another plan to extort money from innocent people. Yalin perhaps believed that he would become a changed man after relocating, but with every difficulty he faced, he realized he would go to any extent to protect himself. In the end, he accepted that he was a selfish man who did not feel guilty about the crimes he committed. The fact that Yalin survived even after the schemes and the murders explains how one can easily buy silence and loyalty with money in this greedy world.
“Chokehold” is a 2023 Turkish Drama Thriller film directed by Onur Saylak.