Generally favorable reviews - based on 33 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 32 out of 33
  2. Negative: 0 out of 33

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Critic Reviews

  1. 100
    Not about crashing into walls or crashing into other people. It's about crashing into yourself and living to tell the tale.
  2. 100
    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.
  3. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    Akin's raw, powerful, multileveled movie takes us places we never expected to go.
  4. 90
    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.
  5. 88
    The love that heals and the love that kills are one and the same in the exhilarating Head-On, Fatih Akin's overgrown dead-end-kid romance for live-wire adults.
  6. It's a brutally convincing movie about two hell-bent young Turkish-German lovers dancing on the edge of destruction in a Hamburg underworld of drugs and casual sex. Yet it's also compassionate and even tender.
  7. 88
    An intoxicating, heartbreaking Turkish-German drama that's already won a slew of awards from international film festivals.
  8. No matter what is going on in the story, these star-crossed lovers are always fascinating to watch.
  9. 80
    Has its share of surprises, especially in the performances of its two main players.
  10. A solid, well-crafted drama, with a tight script, sharp editing, and strong performances by the leads. Beware, however: This is no comedy.
  11. 80
    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.
  12. Reviewed by: Eddie Cockrell
    Fine, gritty, contempo love story.
  13. 80
    A romantic comedy with jagged edges, Fatih Akin's exhilarating Head-On paves the road to love through miles of prickly thatch.
  14. Despite the tears, the blood and the booze, Head-On is a hopeful film.
  15. Fatih Akin is a filmmaker to be reckoned with. His characters grow and change in a stunning film that pulses with life.
  16. 80
    Vital and affecting romantic drama.
  17. But for all the film's griminess and doom, bad behavior and bad luck, it's hope that engines Head-On.
  18. 75
    The movie is 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.
  19. 75
    What ensues is a love story ringed by barbed wire and etched in blood with the jagged neck of a broken beer bottle.
  20. Winner of the top prize at the last Berlin Film Festival, the film is sporadically powerful, sensitively acted and full of music, used with imagination and flair.
  21. 75
    Intense, well-acted love story.
  22. Violent and sexy and funny and sad, Head-On is a big collision that doubles as a bizarre love story.
  23. Despite all its roiling melodrama, Head-On has its moments of sharply observed humor.
  24. 70
    Director Faith Akin has skill and panache, and the lead actors are likable. But the film's high energy can't compensate for the muddled conception.
  25. 70
    Head-On loses its merry mojo once events turn irrevocable and the action switches from Hamburg to Istanbul.
  26. 70
    Fatih Akin's surprisingly grisly feature spills more blood than both of Quentin Tarantino's "Kill Bill" films combined, which is strange when you consider that it's a love story.
  27. Burns with sincerity and serious intent.
  28. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    Head-On doesn't sound like a lot of fun, but it keeps you on edge, laughing nervously, appalled and, against all odds, entertained.
  29. Propelled by ferocious sex, nasty violence, and coy interludes of traditional Turkish love songs.
  30. Unremittingly explosive, Head-On is not an easy film to watch. It is, however, a memorable one.
  31. Reviewed by: David Parkinson
    Ünel and the debuting Kekilli are as impressive as Akin’s atmospheric snapshots of Hamburg and Istanbul.

Awards & Rankings

User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 35 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 13
  2. Negative: 0 out of 13
  1. Aug 22, 2010
    Un inclasificable melodrama sobre un turco, un vago sin oficio ni beneficio, que se casa con una desequilibrada y suicida mujer turca, con elUn inclasificable melodrama sobre un turco, un vago sin oficio ni beneficio, que se casa con una desequilibrada y suicida mujer turca, con el fin de que ella gane su independencia y abandone el conservador hogar familiar. Ambientada en Alemania y con un seco desenlace en Estambul, Contra la Pared inicia como comedia de enredos, tiene ribetes de comedia romántica y continúa con una brutal serie de acontecimientos, tan sorpresivos como desarmantes en su cruda realidad Full Review »
  2. FrankO
    Jun 13, 2009
    This is a strange film but I love movies that are off-beat, off kilter a bit. Akin does a great job of creating sympathetic characters but I This is a strange film but I love movies that are off-beat, off kilter a bit. Akin does a great job of creating sympathetic characters but I wouldn't want to be in their shoes. I like being the observer in this film, watching Cahit and Sibel learn to be with each other, with all its pluses and minuses. Not a film just for anyone. Full Review »
  3. HarkanwarA.
    Sep 15, 2007
    Excellent love-sex-hate drama.