🇹🇷 WOLF 🇹🇷
Wolf aka Börü (2018) is a Turkish miniseries on Netflix. 6 episodes of 1 hr 11 min-1hr 20 min. Turkish with English subtitles and also available dubbed. A firm 15 certificate U.K.
There is a subtitled film to complete the story available on YouTube (embedded link towards the end of this review). The film is 1 hr 20 min long. Turkish with subtitles.
“Turkey in the spring of 2014. A time when the enemies are growing on the border, the circle of danger inside is becoming narrower. The Republic of Turkey faces the greatest threats of recent history. BÖRÜ tells the story of heroic heroes who are touched by love. They are the last castle…
… Börü is a special team composed of highly talented and brave police officers, founded under the Turkey General Directorate of Police. The big portion of the story is very consistent with the fight of Turkey against terrorist organizations in especially the last 10 Years, PKK, ISIS and FETO…” Ahmet Kozan
Ahu Türkpenç as Asena Tümer
Serkan Çayoglu as Kaya Ülgen
Emir Benderlioglu as Turan Kara
Murat Arkin as Kemal Boratev
Firat Dogruloglu as Behçet Orbay
Mesut Akusta as Irfan Aladag
Ahmet Pinar as Barbaros Çepni
Can Nergis as Tolga Erlik
Ozan Agaç as Baran Harput
Bedii Akin as Ömer Tunç
Melis Hacic as Zeynep
Gürol Tonbul as Turgut Atalay
Tan Altay as Tan Altay
Armagan Oguz as Ayi Murat
Özge Gürel as First Lieutenant Gökçe Demir
Creator: Alper Caglar
Writers: Alper Caglar, Emre Sirel, Cem Özüduru, Can Emre
Directors: Can Emre, Cem Özüduru
Cinematographer: Ender Ercan
Editors: Alper Caglar, Can Emre, Cem Özüduru
Composer: Lincoln Jaeger
Makeup: Bagar Igde
Vecihe Sölen Aytulun
Special Effects: Levent Käro
Visual Effects Designers: Senol Akay, Fethi Aslan, Michael S. Blacker, Serkan Dinç, Gazi Erdogan, Yagmur Gül, Yilmaz Kantar, Ellie Nose, Bilal Çakmak, Mehmet Ali Çelik, Miray Çetin, Erdin Bekar, Zeki Kaya
Stunts: Bedil Akin, Veysel Karani Demircioglu, Adnan Erzen, Ihsan Yildirim Tarhan
Costume: Altar Yenikale, Merve Yüksel, Ahmet Mucahit
Wolf is based on real events and real people.
There was an attempted coup in Turkey in 2016 which is relevant to this series. If you want to know more background to this before or after watching here is a link:
“Our story is dedicated to the memory of all security forces ready to sacrifice themselves for innocents.”
This opening statement along with the fact that this Turkish miniseries is based upon real events and people, made Wolf immediately appealing.
“I know the question in your mind. Why Börü?
It is a name derived from Central Asian mythology, referring to the wolf that protects the herd [pack] but which must stay away from the herd [pack] forever.
We are the outcasts who burn ourselves out for the good of the community. We are not heroes. Most of us are troubled, all alone. Only our purpose matters… To stop the monsters who wish to harm the pack… if the pack weakens in the dark of the night.”
Watching Wolf proved to be a frequently very tense and emotionally charged experience. It is safe to say that it starts as it means to go along with intense, highly realistic action sequences. The very first scene is upsetting (and closely based on a real terrorist attack) but not at all gratuitous as it is the motivation for one of the young men joining the anti-terrorism unit.
Very early on in this show, the viewer learns that people die in these anti-terrorist actions. There were parts, such as one involving a long, long run up a steep hill, which looked like they must have been exhausting to film.
Between the incidents that the team are sent to tackle there is another web being woven. Behind the scenes plotting and machinations going on, all culminating in the events of the finale. At first, we who know little (if anything) about the coup attempt of 2016, may not grasp the importance of this “subplot”, it is though very important.
I have written about the overall impact of the show but for me, the main strength of this show is the characters we get to know very well. We see flawed men and women, who have an incredibly close bond with each other, although this can be “complicated”. They each have different reasons for being in the unit and some are, frankly, ill-suited for ordinary life. When members of this “family” are lost we feel it viscerally too.
I especially appreciated that in this women play an equal role with positions of responsibility and expertise e.g. a sniper, a fighter aircraft pilot. Whilst it would be nice to think that this should not need commenting upon it is worth noting that there is no falling into the trap of the “guys” saving the “girls” here. I suspect that more than a few people might be surprised at this aspect because of incorrect assumptions about Turkish TV and film. That the police have units that are so heavily militarized might also come as a surprise – it was to me.
I do not always watch introductory credits after I have seen the first episode but with this series I watched every single time. The meal around the table in the restaurant is so revealing of who these people are and each watch allows you to focus on someone else.
The cinematography in Wolf is outstanding. From the close-quarters shaky cam of combat situations to excellent aerial shots. The super visual and special effects combine with a great sound design to assault the senses. Explosions, rounds of bullets, shelling… The stunt team and the makeup, notably of injury details, are both very impressive. The direction and pacing are really good and tension is created extremely well.
The writing can be a bit clunky at times. This is also a strongly patriotic series so do not enter this expecting any depth to the terrorists’ side because it is not there. Regardless of the threat whether it be ISIS or another organisation the focus is on our team and the wider good of the country.
There were extended parts of this show where I was looking through my sweaty fingers, holding my breath, gasping, gritting my teeth, shouting out loud with my heart pounding and, yes, crying. This is a very emotionally affecting piece of TV. I cannot emphasise too strongly how intensely realistic this feels as a viewer.
As the noise of bullets “ping” close to your ears, the close-quarters camerawork makes it all seem very realistic. You hear the breathing of individuals, feel the jeopardy and are hit by the intense emotions of the aftermath.
I got so attached to characters that I dreaded anything terrible happening to them because the jeopardy written into this is always at the forefront of your mind. There were people who I did not particularly like at the start (far too volatile and definitely far too dangerous) but by the end was desperate for them to be alright.
The way some, often tragic, events happen reveal so much of the true people that these men and women often mask from others. As a viewer I got to know these characters as living, breathing people with dreams, concerns, flaws and aspirations like any others BUT (and this is a big BUT) the fact is that they are not like many others at all. These are an exceptional and rare breed.
Two of the major themes of Wolf, aside from self-sacrifice are love and loss. As this series (and its subsequent film) unfold we see love of many kinds, the love of family in both in its narrow and widest sense, brotherly love, romantic love, love of oneself, one’s country etc. This combines with loss, the loss of the loved and those we have only briefly met. There is also a pervading sense of the could, and would and should have been. Threading through the series and film are also themes of betrayal and loyalty.
The other thing that struck me whilst watching is how the eyes of some of these men are almost impossibly blue.
There was incredible tension every single time they were doing even the most mundane (in theory) duties. I found myself as a viewer also entering a heightened alert state and as a result, I jumped out of my skin on several occasions and found myself checking the locations for possible threats.
Wolf may feel like it is not complete when you watch it on Netflix, and that is because it is not the end. To see what happens after the explosive finale then the feature film which is available on YouTube (link below) is an essential watch. This continues the story from exactly the point it leaves off and has some phenomenal action sequences including one involving a helicopter chase!
I can unreservedly recommend Wolf for anyone who enjoys a show with gritty, edge of the seat tension with an intelligent background story and compelling characters who you care about. You could binge watch this but I watched 1 episode a day as I found each episode so intense and effecting I needed to decompress a bit before watching the next. Between the injuries, deaths and destruction parts of Wolf are poetic and beautiful.
That quotation at the beginning is very apt because these are men and women who are prepared to literally sacrifice themselves for the welfare of the innocent.
Link to the feature film:
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