“When I’m Done Dying” (“Bir Nefes Daha”)


6/10, (***)

Movies about addiction have been done many times over the years, and they generally follow a fairly predictable narrative, even when the story particulars vary from picture to picture. Such is the case with writer-director Nisan Dağ’s second feature, which tells the story from the perspective of an aspiring rapper from the Karaçinar slum of Istanbul who has become addicted to bonzai, a cheap synthetic cannabinoid with potent psychedelic effects. Whatever lucky breaks the protagonist gets, however, are shot down by his own substance abuse, incidents that affect not only the protagonist, but also those around him, including his family, rapping partner and girlfriend/producer. The story is substantially formulaic throughout, though its treatment is distinguished by the fine lead performance by Oktay Çubuk, its use of rap lyrics to tell much of the protagonist’s story and its inventive animation to depict the psychedelic effects of the lead’s drug experiences. Still, the film’s rote writing and underdeveloped back story keep this offering from effectively breaking out of an all-too-familiar mode. This is by no means a bad effort but one that could have benefitted from more creativity in its handling.