Chiko (18)

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The Independent Culture

A young Turkish immigrant named Isa prays at his local mosque, but out on the mean streets of Hamburg he trades under his thug moniker Chiko.

The director Özgür Yildirim plots his resistible rise from dealing hash for a crime boss (Moritz Bleibtreu) to a Scarface-lifestyle of cocaine and nightclubs, while the resentful figure of his loser best pal broods in the background like Banquo's ghost. Denis Moschitto, as the bantam gangster, apes the slow-burn menace of a young Robert De Niro, and his explosive bouts of violence are of a similar stripe. There's nothing here to challenge Fatih Akin's tough drama of Hamburg immigrants Head-On, and too much of its urban grit seems in thrall to American precedents.

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