The new film A Day and a Half is a story about a man and his quest to see his daughter again. He goes about it in one of the most desperate ways possible. Artan is the man in question, and his ex-wife Louise bears the brunt of the situation. One might think that Artan is the villain and Louise is an innocent victim, but as we get into the story, the thriller morphs itself into a very complex family drama, and we witness that there is more to every element than meets the eye. It is the extenuating circumstances that are to blame. The couple, Artan and Louise, are facing their own individual struggles, and there is just no way for communication to happen between the two. It is this breakdown that the film captures very well. The characters of Louise and Artan are so intertwined that they warrant a closer look.
The Couple: Artan And Louise
A Day And A Half begins with Artan entering the hospital where Louise works. He was carrying a bag, which later proved to not be a bomb. He wasn’t there to harm anyone except Louise. So, the hostage situation was unique. It was a ‘domestic’ hostage situation where Artan pulled his gun on Louise and promised to kill her and then himself if his demand wasn’t met. His only demand was that she let him meet his daughter, Cassandra, again. Louise and Artan were not together anymore, and during the legal battle, custody had gone to Louise. Artan was desperate, and he blamed Louise for fornicating around and not letting him meet Cassandra. His desperation knew no bounds, and it seemed that this attempt to take her hostage was the only solution he could come up with.
Louise couldn’t do much, and she was at the mercy of Artan’s intention. He broke the nose of a doctor at the hospital with whom he thought she was having an affair. Louise tried to tell him that it wasn’t true, but Artan was imagining the worst. And what if she was seeing someone else? They were not together anymore. The only link between them was their daughter, Cassandra, and that, too, didn’t give Artan any right to assault her or her lover.
Artan was a man who was right on the edge. All it took for him to lose his mind completely was Louise’s ignorant behavior. They had planned to sort out the situation at a cafe the day before. The meeting was set, but Louise didn’t show up, and this was enough for Artan to decide that maybe Louise wasn’t taking her seriously enough. It was time to send a clear message. This line of reasoning clearly makes Artan seem like a brute of a man who didn’t know anything except violence. But that is only true if you don’t hear his side of the story. From his point of view, Louise was unfit to be a mother, and it was only because her father lied in court that he lost Cassandra’s custody. He had been wronged, and he wasn’t knowledgeable enough to be able to comprehend Louise’s state of mind.
Louise was, in fact, facing a mental health issue. She had an episode of psychosis, and she took Cassandra out in the snow when it was twenty degrees below zero and left her there. How she survived is a mystery, but how Louise managed to get Cassandra’s custody is an even bigger one. It can only be surmised that her father lied about being assaulted by Artan. That may have made the courts rule in favor of Louise, seeing as Artan was a violent man. The truth was known by Louise, and when they both reached her parents’ house, that’s when it was clear that Louise wasn’t too happy with them either. Marrying Artan was her choice, and she couldn’t hear the hateful comments her father was spewing out about him. Louise couldn’t stand her mother, and the feelings were mutual. It seems that Louise’s parents were xenophobic bigots and couldn’t stand that Louise went ahead and married the man. What did she see in him?
Artan, even though he couldn’t understand that Louise was in a bad place when she once took Cassandra outside in the extreme cold, was a good-hearted man. When he was being called a parasite by Louise’s father, he could have done much worse than just standing there and waiting for Cassandra to show up. He had a loaded gun in his hand, and he just could have let his anger get the better of him if he was truly a violent man. But his objective was never to hurt Louise or her family. He just wanted to see Cassandra.
Artan got carried away, and even though he knew that starting a life together again with Louise and Cassandra wasn’t on the cards, he wanted to flee together. It was his fantasy, which was never going to materialize. Louise could only make him understand that she didn’t stand him up in the cafe. She had simply fallen asleep. Such a simple reason for not coming to the cafe, and look where they were. The couple had love between them, but they were simply too incompatible. They could never communicate properly, and that was their downfall. Cassandra was in a dangerous situation now, and Artan began to realize the bizarre nature of his expectations. He simply wanted an apology from her, probably because she made him the villain in the story.
Louise, too, couldn’t blame him; what she did to Cassandra was unforgivable. They could only reconcile when Louise agreed to let him meet Cassandra every once in a while. Artan, who had a gun on her head this whole time, finally lowered his weapon and agreed to surrender. It was better to serve time in prison than risk getting shot. He had asked for a boat that would take the three of them to Albania. But he saw that the police were waiting for an opportunity to shoot him down. He surrendered as he realized that he would get to see Cassandra and that he had also gotten an apology from Louise. In the end, the couple figured a few things out. They were not meant to stay together, and they both had a right to be with Cassandra. It’s the circumstances that were the villains, and neither would get anything out of blaming the other. Louise walked away with Cassandra, and Artan was finally at peace, even though he was arrested.