Lillie is a young nurse working in Philadelphia in 1914. After experiencing the brutal effects of racism first-hand, she decides to donate a truck and medical supplies to a mission hospital in Turkey. Traveling with the cargo, it is stolen by bandits enroute so she arrives at the hospital with nothing but the clothes on her back and the young Turkish lieutenant escorting her. She volunteers her services and quickly finds herself caught in the middle when World War I starts. Trying to remain neutral, she falls for the lieutenant who is in the Turkish Army fighting on the side of the Germans. Her faith and feelings are tested as she tries to offer aid and bring care and order to chaos.
2017, Color, Rated R, 1 Hr 46 mins
DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, 2.40:1 Aspect Ratio
Starring: Michiel Huisman, Hera Hilmar, Josh Hartnett
Directed by Joseph Ruben
Sex: Brief sensuality
The Ottoman Lieutenant has all the elements of an epic love story, but it never really materializes. While Lillie and Ismail’s relationship grows amidst challenge and difficulty, the two actors never really create any convincing chemistry. There are a few brief battle scenes to help move the story along but the entertainment factor never rises above the realm of the average.
I enjoyed the cinematography most of all. The entire movie is shot on location in Turkey and the landscapes are beautifully portrayed. There are many wide shots that, accompanied by an excellent musical score, really help save this film. It’s almost enough to make the plot irrelevant.
The actors’ performances were wooden for the most part, and I was particularly disappointed in Ben Kingsley who seemed just to phone it in. His acting talent is legendary and it was completely absent here. Michiel Huisman, who can also be seen in Game of Thrones and Orphan Black, has many memorable parts on his resume but here, he seemed more like eye-candy than anything else.
I’d say The Ottoman Lieutenant is worth a rental and fans of war films may want to add it their libraries. But I can’t imagine watching it more than once.
The image has all the clarity and detail offered by modern camera technology but a couple of things took it down from the reference level. First were a few instances of black crush in dark interior scenes. This seemed mostly fixed later in the movie during the nighttime battle sequences. Second was an overall lack of color saturation. I believe the director was going for a vintage feel, and the warmth was there, but the beautiful landscapes would have benefitted from a bit more punch.
Audio was clean and clear but there is little for a competent surround and subwoofer system to do. Everything happens in the front soundstage with almost no effects coming from the sides or rear. My sub woke up once, briefly, when an ammo dump was exploding but that was all I heard from the LFE channel. The excellent musical score from Geoff Zanelli was the bright spot here.
There are no bonus features on this release.