The Netflix Turkish drama film, “Godspeed,” depicts the story of a Turkish soldier who can’t seem to leave the past behind and is still trapped in memory, searching for answers. His best buddy is a lieutenant in the army who served with him and who becomes his spine on an adventure with an unsettling finish but the kindest farewell.
“Godspeed” is extremely heart-breaking, with surprises that will catch you off guard if you are not paying close attention to certain nuances in the characters’ behavior. Captain Salih was discharged from the Turkish army following an event on the battlefield in which he lost his leg. In the hospital, he is being investigated as a suspect. The plot unravels as he sees an opportunity to flee, and we see a wonderful friendship of the past blossom before meeting a sad conclusion. Allow us to comprehend Salih’s desire to find meaning in living with his veteran brother, Kerim.
Major Spoilers Ahead
‘Godspeed’ Plot Summary: Where Is Salih Going?
Salih, a man with a prosthetic leg, begins the film by attaching it to his limb. Salih has a depressed expression on his face, unable to face the world, but he is determined. Determined to achieve a single goal. We learn that Salih and his companion Kerim are planning a road trip. Salih plans to locate some money hidden by his wife and shoot the man about to marry a girl. He must put an end to the wedding and save the girl at any costs.
Salih’s wife arrives at the hospital and scolds the doctor for not closely monitoring him after learning of his escape. Salih is a tall, well-built man capable of fighting off three male nurses. He almost did it on one occasion to calm him down, but instead punched his wife, who tried to calm him down. After returning from combat, Salih becomes untethered. Loud sounds bring back memories. He’s numb and trying to rediscover the purpose of life. The numbness even affects his marriage, making it hard for him to have a physical interaction until his wife slaps him back to reality.
Soldiers always return to civilization with sour memories and injuries that burden them, affecting their lives on multiple levels. Soldiers are stripped bare of the very feeling where a person looks forward to what life has in store for him, and the conflict enwraps their lives. The only thing keeping them alive is the drive to survive. As per his duties, Captain Salih must hire an officer to work under his leadership. As a result, he begins to form a strong bond with Kerim, the man he chooses as his lieutenant. Kerim simply has one aim in mind. To marry Elif and return home. Salih can see how deeply he loves her and how she is the only reason he wants to live to the end. Kerim’s smile is what helps Salih thrive.
Kerim is fired by Salih’s superior for an operation gone wrong. He notices the telephone as he walks out. He contacts the same superior, impersonating a general of a higher rank than his superior to speak with Salih and get him out of a tricky situation. Salih understands his comrade is on the phone when he answers the phone, but he does not reveal the plot. While Salih’s supervisor thinks he’s talking to a Colonel, Salih uses this as an excuse to give Kerim the time he needs to return home and marry his long-time sweetheart Elif.
After Salih discovers that some money has been hidden from him, he sets out in a gorgeous car with Kerim to assist the latter in finding and marrying his true love, Elif. They meet a couple stranded on the expressway while traveling. Salih’s movements are restricted while he is under investigation. The couple doesn’t divulge it right away, but they’re carrying a bag which has cannabis. When they arrive at a police checkpoint, Salih has no choice but to race past it. If he is apprehended by the cops, he will be rushed back to the hospital and placed under extreme security, preventing him from going anywhere else.
Will Kerim and Salih arrive in time for Elif’s wedding and prevent her from marrying another man? Will Salih shoot her soon-to-be husband or Kerim’s father, who has always despised him?
‘Godspeed’ Ending Explained: Does Salih Find Elif?
Kerim is in denial about how much suffering his leg is causing him. Salih’s ideals and ethics are what allow him to see even when he believes he has no cards to play. Salih admired Kerim’s energetic approach to life, but most importantly, they were brothers in life and death. When they served together in the army, they took a solemn oath.
When Salih and Kerim are getting ready to help Kerim find his girl, they stop by a shop where a partridge is caught in a cage, and the shopkeeper says that the bird could be a tasty dinner for his family night. When Kerim requests banana milk, Salih mocks him but remains silent. He kidnaps the partridge and informs Kerim that it doesn’t belong in a cage. Salih remembers how difficult it is to want to be free but be trapped inside a body set to endure surgery and wake up with a missing shin and foot. It’s his way of expressing that if a bird has wings, it must be free to fly into the blue sky. Even if he wanted to, he couldn’t. Kerim sympathizes with him but warns him that they might be delayed.
They come upon a couple stranded on the interstate after Salih receives the bird. While this pair decides to hitch a ride with Salih and Kerim, who is oddly staring at the bird next to him, Salih’s wife is struggling to tell her parents that her husband has gone away and that she wants to find him, but she needs her father’s help. Her parents are dissatisfied with the state of her marriage, but they remain supportive of her demands. Kerim is becoming concerned because she is constantly contacting Salih. Salih is on his way to a police roadblock. Kerim becomes agitated and pushes the gas pedal, propelling the car forward and generating terror among the passengers because he does not want to be caught with a prospective suspect.
The boy and girl in the backseat jump out of the car as it reaches an empty location amid the forest, claiming they can’t get rid of all their cannabis. They both run away, terrified of Kerim and Salih. Kerim is relieved that they dodged calamity, but he reminds Salih to go to the wedding. Salih attempts to rescue the bird, but it is fired at by hunters, which enrages him. Salih is fighting with those hunters about killing a free bird while Kerim attempts to carefully get him back to the car. Kerim drags him back to the car and begins scratching his back even harder than before. Salih instructs him to take off his shirt, but there is nothing there. It’s psychological; he tells Kerim. Suddenly, he hears a loud ringing in his ears. The limb is pleading with him.
They arrive at a little eatery after some time. The TV announces that a veteran march will take place the next morning, and preparations are underway to ensure that everything runs properly. The city is preparing for Martyrs’ Day in Turkey. When the waiter makes an inane joke, Salih silently brandishes the gun he is carrying, causing the waiter to become enraged and sneak towards Salih’s car, cutting a hole in the car’s tank. Kerim and Salih are stranded along the road as the gas leaks. When they arrive at a petrol station to repair the car, the manager calms Salim down when the attendant at the pump refuses to give him any gas because he lacks identification. The manager of the petrol station grants free servicing for his automobile after learning he is a veteran.
After discovering his gas tank had a hole, and it is repaired, Salih safely gets back on the road with the car now serviced for free. He arrives at the wedding location and stops the ceremony by firing a gunshot, scaring everyone. Elif rises slowly, and he grabs her hand and pulls her away from the wedding. It is the most significant day of their lives. They need to get to their destination quickly. Elif does not acknowledge Kerim, who is now seated in the backseat, as she sinks into the seat next to Salih. Elif reveals to her prior love in Kerim that she cannot marry anyone else when certain nightmares surface after loving only Kerim, but Salih screams for an ounce of rationality. He holds Elif responsible for everything, but he must complete his duty.
Salih’s past haunts him, and Kerim is a part of it. There are continuous flashes of his history between his eyes as he lives in the present. As the story progresses, we learn that Salih recalls sending Kerim to lower ground to search for the enemy among the high rocks. Salih, who is still on high ground, observes the adversary lurking behind a high rock as Kerim descends. Salih cannot risk himself going downhill in person because there are hazardous landmines on the ground. When Salih sees the opponent ready to strike Kerim, he fires at him, killing him, but the bullet also passes through Kerim’s right shoulder.
Salih hurries down the hill, startled by what he has just done, to catch up with Kerim, who has now fallen flat on his face and is spitting blood. Kerim has the uneasy sense that he is about to bid his best friend farewell. A landmine goes off as he runs downwards, and he crashes with a terrible thud close to Kerim. They’re both bleeding this time, so Kerim asks Salih to phone Elif. Seconds later, Kerim passes away.
While traveling to his destination with Elif in the present, Salih passes his wife Duygu and her father. When she sees him, she and her father run after him, and they stay on his tail. Dugyu has now informed her parents that she is expecting a child and needs the presence of her spouse. Elif and Salih arrive at their location, where a large crowd is going quietly in one direction. Elif, like Salih, summons all of her power and drags herself out of the vehicle. They approach Kerim’s parents, who are saying farewell to their son, Kerim, who is in a coffin, with a heavy heart. His funeral is conducted with complete honors and rituals for the veterans of the Armed forces.
Salih boards the boat to accompany the body. With his brother gone, he has no reason to live and pulls out his revolver and places it on his chin. When his wife arrives in a separate boat and approaches him, she tells him that there is hope in his life while he is in a trance. He never lost his companion since he has been resurrected in her stomach. He turns to her when he hears this, and she discloses she is pregnant. Salih regains faith in his life and decides to return home. He may now lead another man’s life as a veteran.
Salih is shown traveling on a boat with his son. Salih sits at the bow of the boat, his face filled with satisfaction. It feels nice to be alive, and for the first time, we can see it. Salih feels a presence behind him as he sits with his son and talks to him. Kerim greets him with a smile and a hand on his shoulder, assuring him that he has finally accepted a new life.
“Godspeed” is a serenading drama that speaks of death as a best friend. It is the unknown that most are afraid of, but it is as certain as ‘death and taxes.’ With love brewing beneath it as a foundation, veterans build relationships that last a lifetime, and this movie emphasizes on the outline that it encompasses. When Salih’s cheek is constantly caressed by bittersweet memories, we do not know his true intentions, but his steadfast attitude helps us believe that somewhere his heart never meant any real harm. It is these touching visuals put together that make the film tender and a must-watch at least once.
“Godspeed” is a 2022 Drama film directed by Mehmet Ada Öztekin.