“Chokehold” is quite compelling. Is this what happens to a person when he or she defrauds people out of a lot of money? Probably not, unless the person was reluctant to carry out the fraud in the first place. Yalin Sahin and his four business partners took more than $100 million from their investors, probably assuring them of a higher return. But this was only possible if the company was real, which it wasn’t. It was a scam.
The film is all about how Yalin copes with himself after fleeing with his wife Beyza from Istanbul to a remote village off the Aegean coast after making a deal with the prosecutor. The other four businessmen have been arrested and sent to prison. Even after arriving at the village, Yalin isn’t able to get over the panic that has overshadowed his life, with people just waiting to get their hands on him for what he’s done. As he searches for ways to escape, things keep getting worse. His unusual behavior does make him a mysterious personality that is worthy of analysis in the way he tries to cope with his fears. There’s a lot more to Yalin Sahin’s character than what meets the eye. In this article, we will try to address his actions and try to connect them together to get a better understanding of the kind of a person he really is. So, let’s begin.
Upon arrival at the village, Yalin realizes that he has been ratted out by someone, and the people of the village are also after him. By the end of the film, he has killed three men who were also intending to kill him, or maybe not. It looked like they did. So can we judge Yalin for killing them? If he hadn’t killed them, perhaps one of them would have killed him. After killing the first guy, Cevdet, he hallucinates him, and we even see him practicing fighting with an axe. Is he learning to defend himself? Should he be prepared to kill if anyone approaches him? He will only be messing up his case if he does that. The DA has warned him to be careful. Or should he be the nice guy? Will this absolve him of his crime?
Yalin is thus in a dilemma. He doesn’t seem to like other frauds who are practically emotionless. They do not care how much the money matters to those they are stealing it from. They are blinded by greed. But Yalin is unable to pass his days without thinking about what he has done, especially after killing Cevdet. However, his panic does not stop him from killing two other men who attack him. We might say that he could have just gone to the police after the first attack (without killing Cevdet). He doesn’t go and finds out that the inspector, too, is waiting for the public to kill him. So it may be that the only reason he killed the second and third man was that he knew that going to the police was futile. Someone or another will kill him, and the police will not take any action. What would we do if we were in Yalin’s situation?
It is only what he does at the end of the film that makes us think of him from a different perspective. After he shows Beyza the 1 million euros that he had buried in the ground, Beyza tells him that she was the one who ratted him out. It is because of her that everyone knows him. She had to give up her family and friends, who broke ties with her because she had decided to be with him. And she has to hear his complain that she doesn’t love him. She has had enough and mentions her regret for meeting him. After hearing all this, he kills Beyza with an axe. This act of his is what makes us look at his behavior throughout the film from a different perspective. Was Yalin always like this? A money-minded psychopath? He didn’t want to get caught by the cops or get killed because he had 1 million euros to spend. Be that as it may, after killing his wife and burying her, he returns the money to the police and apparently waits for them to just come and arrest him. What happens at the end of the film is just bizarre. The cops visit him and bring back the money. His neighbors also arrive, and they all sit with him, having a friendly conversation.
All their hatred for him seems to have vanished now that they have the money. Such is the nature of humans, is it not? As long as they didn’t get their money back, they were looking for the culprit to bring him to justice. Now that they have the money, the culprit itself becomes their friend. Is Yalin worth forgiving for what he did? Would we forgive a thief if he returned the money, he stole from us? Coming back to Yalin, he definitely has a mysterious personality. We do not know what’s going on in Yalin’s head. Did he kill his wife because he was angry at her? Or because he could not risk her taking the money to the police? Both can be true because, after all, his wife pointed out all that was wrong with him and thus was a piece of living evidence against him.
Unfortunately, we are unable to provide Yalin with the benefit of the doubt and do find him to be the psychopath that he seems to be. But, and it’s a big but, we have to hand it to him to return the money to the police. This act of his is proof that somewhere deep within, he did love his wife and ultimately listened to her. To borrow words from John Keats, in the very temple of psychopathy, veiled compassion has its sovereign shrine. Don’t you think?