‘Kubra’ Review: An Average Show Centered Around An Interesting Idea


The problem with modern-day OOT content is that we need to turn everything into a series. Ideas that can be packed into a two-hour film are stretched for eight episodes, and that is where the thoughts and ideas get diluted. The new Turkish series on Netflix, Kubra, is another similar example. The concept of bringing together faith and technology was intriguing to begin with, especially considering the rise of the strange merger we are seeing in the real world. It could have been an impactful film, but alas, we get an average Netflix series. In Kubra, the idea of faith and belief is questioned, and we witness a man caught in the madness navigate through the strange time and find his ground. Gokhan is neither a messiah nor a prophet, but he strongly believed that he was chosen to become the messenger of Allah.

We are told that Gokhan became a changed man after serving in the army, but the backstory is not explored to its full potential. His religious beliefs were shaped by the trauma he experienced in life. He questioned his purpose and started to believe that everything he did was pre-determined by Allah, and he was simply walking the path he was supposed to. His belief was cemented all the more after he rescued a child in a fire accident. He was convinced that he had carried out the Almighty’s wish. Gokhan was desperately searching for signs to find his purpose, and when he received a text from a stranger on a religious app, he started to wonder if he truly was the chosen one. He initially was dismissive of the random text, assuming it was from a stranger trying to flirt with him, but the more he engaged, the more he realized that it was not a prank. The one texting him knew every little detail about his life. With signs and proof all around him, Gokhan was convinced that it was Allah who was communicating with him.

From the very beginning, we witnessed the influence of technology on common people. Gokhan was searching for a community to belong to, and that was how he stumbled across the app. It was through the application that the word about him started to spread, gathering a set of followers quite easily. The people on the app were waiting to be saved, and when they found out about the messenger of God, they did not question its authenticity and chose to follow their hearts and witness the miracle. It is the mediocrity of life that makes one hopeful about experiencing a religious awakening that could alter reality. Gokhan spoke to the less fortunate, the ones overlooked by the government. In him, they found hope.

The question of whether Gokhan was truly the messenger of Allah was teased throughout the seven episodes, making it difficult to comprehend where the series was aiming to arrive. The power outage, the crumbling of a building, and the voice of their late father suggested that maybe there was a supernatural force that truly was working to guide Gokhan. And it is only in the last two episodes that we finally find out the truth. Kubra captures the insecurity of politicians after a common man starts to attract and influence people. It evidently shows how the system will never be ready to accommodate a religious leader without any political affiliation, and it will always result in conflict. The politicians were not after the logical explanation of the claims Gokhan made, but they simply wanted to cash in on his fame and have more people on their side. This is particularly interesting considering how closely religion and politics work, and we have countless examples of it. There is no other way to gain the blind faith of people than through religion, and it can massively impact the political game. The problem with Kubra is that it touches upon various crucial points, but it never truly says anything of substance. The intertwining of politics and religion could have been explored in depth, but we only get a superficial version of it.

Kubra was so busy convincing and confusing the audience about the truth, eventually arriving at the last episode and making a big revelation, that it lost countless opportunities to dive deep. You will pretty much understand the entire series if you watch the last episode, which goes on to say that the seven episodes in themselves barely have anything memorable. Overall, Kubra does a decent job when it comes to the plot and the concept. It questions the way belief functions and how even the most logical explanations can be ignored if one wants to believe in something.

Cagatay Ulusoy is convincing as the messenger of Allah, Gokhan Sahinoglu. He successfully portrayed the conflict that existed within Gokhan. In Kubra, we get to witness his confusion, his desperation, his hopelessness, and ultimately his confidence in himself. Aslihan Malbora, as Gokhan’s wife, Merve, delivers an adequate performance. Watching her boyfriend evolve into the messenger of Allah was not easy. Unlike Gulcan, she still believed in finding a logical answer, and when her husband was in doubt, she did what she thought would be best for him. Ahsen Eroglu delivers a notable performance as Gulcan, Gokhan’s sister. As someone who had been suffering from guilt and trauma, she too was desperately searching for a miracle, and she found it in the form of her brother.

Throughout the series, a cool, grim tone is used that complements the inner turmoil of the subjects we see on screen. In such a grim setting, the hope of a miracle and the rise of the messenger of Allah seemed to have brought a little warmth and light into the lives of people. Overall, you can watch Kubra if the plot interests you because the series does a fair job when it comes to discussing the influence of technology on religion. However, there are other series on the web that might have a more lasting impact. Kubra will make you question how belief functions, and you will arrive at different conclusions in the end.

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Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni has worked as a film researcher on a government-sponsored project and is currently employed as a film studies teacher at a private institute. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Film Studies. Film History and feminist reading of cinema are her areas of interest.

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