Head-On (Gegen die Wand) Reviews


AV Club
Top Critic
September 26, 2005


St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic
July 5, 2005

Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic
July 1, 2005

Akin makes this a most intriguing, if roundabout, journey from despair to 'do something.'

Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Geoff Pevere
Toronto Star
Top Critic
June 17, 2005

The power of Akin's film, which is considerably aided by the two lead performances ... comes from the spectacle of people developing feelings for each other even through numbing layers of mutual narcissism, self-loathing and raging terror of intimacy.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
Top Critic
June 17, 2005

Violent and sexy and funny and sad.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Ted Fry
Seattle Times
Top Critic
May 6, 2005

A riveting love story that never flinches from the unsettling reality of a specific social issue or the universal joys that two people can bring to each other's lives, no matter how hard they try to bring agony to their own.

Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
Top Critic
April 15, 2005

A portrait of passionate, all-consuming love born out of desperation.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
Top Critic
April 15, 2005

By the time the film concludes, you will likely feel better for having gone the distance, for having faced all this head-on.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Jeff Strickler
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic
April 14, 2005

This is a gritty drama about self-destruction. On a basic level, its title refers to an early scene in which a man floors his car and plows into a brick wall. In a more general sense, it reflects the protagonists' fatalistic approach to life.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic
April 8, 2005

... Well and fearlessly acted, and the writer-director (Fatih Akin) is determined to follow her story to a logical and believable conclusion, rather than letting everyone off the hook with a conventional ending.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Michael Wilmington
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic
April 7, 2005

It's an arresting new work by an obviously gifted and commanding moviemaker.

Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Anthony Lane
New Yorker
Top Critic
April 2, 2005

This is not just pliable filmmaking; it is an exercise in worldliness, in a feel for the cracks and warps of circumstance, which is all the more startling when you learn that the director is thirty-one.

Stephanie Zacharek
Salon.com
Top Critic
April 2, 2005

Head On understands the tension between wanting to have nothing to do with the place from which you came and yet still, deep in your heart, somehow yearning for it.

Robert Denerstein
Denver Rocky Mountain News
Top Critic
April 1, 2005

The movie starts with a mild contrivance and then allows life to tear through its seams, sabotaging its characters and us.

| Original Score: A-
Andrew Sarris
New York Observer
Top Critic
March 31, 2005

This is a film experience that stays in the mind.

Wesley Morris
Boston Globe
Top Critic
March 11, 2005

A major artistic breakthrough.

Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Eric Harrison
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic
March 11, 2005

Akin calls this his most personal movie. Every frame bristles with authenticity and honest emotion. He's the real thing. His movie is stunning.

Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Chris Vognar
Dallas Morning News
Top Critic
March 4, 2005

Where too many films depict redemption as a divine right, Head-On has the courage to track a process that generally makes for rough traveling.

Full Review | Original Score: B+
Desson Thomson
Washington Post
Top Critic
February 25, 2005

No matter what is going on in the story, these star-crossed lovers are always fascinating to watch.

Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
Top Critic
February 25, 2005

They might be marginal, they might misfits, but we actually care about those two crazy kids.


Time Out
Top Critic
February 19, 2005

Carla Meyer
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic
February 11, 2005

Akin lays on too much nastiness and too many false endings, but the film succeeds anyway, fueled by the idea that love can restore a soul even if it can't always conquer all.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
David Edelstein
Slate
Top Critic
February 3, 2005

Head-On doesn't sound like a lot of fun, but it keeps you on edge, laughing nervously, appalled and, against all odds, entertained.

Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic
February 3, 2005

Despite all its roiling melodrama, Head-On has its moments of sharply observed humor.

| Original Score: 3/4
Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic
January 27, 2005

Impeccably made, uncompromising in its implacable vision of the deranging power of love, sex and controlled substances, this savage and staggering film knows how to take our breath away.

Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
Ella Taylor
L.A. Weekly
Top Critic
January 27, 2005

In its breathlessly claustrophobic way the movie is vital and passionate, and lit with a lyric beauty that washes over love scenes and violent acts alike.

Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
Top Critic
January 21, 2005

Director Fatih Akin has made a remarkable film -- the first great film of the new year -- marked by strong characters and intense scenes.

Elizabeth Weitzman
New York Daily News
Top Critic
January 21, 2005

Sloppy, melodramatic yet, ultimately, immensely affecting.

Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Debra Birnbaum
New York Post
Top Critic
January 21, 2005

Any sense of predictability is extinguished by these two thoroughly engaging actors. Despite their less-than-saintly behavior, you won't be able to take your eyes off either.

| Original Score: 3.5/4
John Anderson
Newsday
Top Critic
January 20, 2005

Thoroughly astonishing in its twists and turns, its brutality and its angry sex, it makes the Romeo-Juliet, East-meets-West romances of our increasingly tribalized world seem more facile than ever.

Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Manohla Dargis
New York Times
Top Critic
January 20, 2005

Love doesn't just hurt in the jagged German romance Head-On; it cuts and bleeds and even kills.

Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic
January 19, 2005

Akin's showily grimy Berlin Film Festival prizewinner is propelled by ferocious sex, nasty violence, and coy interludes of traditional Turkish love songs warbled by a folk band on the banks of the Bosporus.

Full Review | Original Score: B-
J. Hoberman
Village Voice
Top Critic
January 18, 2005

In an odd spin on the immigration story, rootless Cahit and Sibel are ultimately too complex for the fiction that holds them.

Eddie Cockrell
Variety
Top Critic
January 12, 2005

Fine, gritty, contempo love story.