Plot twist done right! Though, I wish they made a different choice when it came to the ending.
At first, the Last Call for Istanbul feels like one of those serendipitous travel romances reminiscent of Before Sunrise. As Serin and Mehmet enjoy New York at night, it’s absolutely enchanting, especially with the unique, striking mirrored transitions that shift between the two as they get ready, but this nighttime stroll has already been walked on before, complete with droll dialogue and impulsive choices. However, the film makes a shift to its second half, and it suddenly reconfigures what we know about the two and their romance. While it does employ other familiar romance tropes, it’s still an intriguing shift that explores the concept of possibilities, and the cost in choosing one over the others.
There’s something about traveling that makes it easier to fantasize about possibilities – and that includes the possibility of romance with an airport crush. However, choosing a possibility can mean closing doors to others, and this is what Last Call for Istanbul explores. The first half portrays the fulfillment of that romantic possibility, a magical, serendipitous night where you meet someone attractive and somehow get closer, a la Before Sunrise, while the second half removes the blinds. These themes aren’t particularly new on film, but the way the story unfolds is. It’s an excellent plot twist, one that’s rightfully earned, and it makes for an interesting romance, if you can take the time to get there.