Nominated for six Golden Globes, Sultan is a multi-million-dollar commercial and creative production directed by Sultan Kadian. Produced by Dreamworks and headed by David Fincher ( shark movies), this movie is a high-tech tale of a young woman (Emma Stone) who rises through the ranks at her small advertising agency in New York City. However, when her father (John C. Wilson) is killed in an accident, she takes over his position as boss and sets about revamping the company. The subsequent upheaval results in the two moving to Istanbul, where they become the most powerful couple in the world.
Like many a female character in a film, Sultan is presented as a victim of circumstances rather than a protagonist in her own right. Yet the movie treats her with the equal measure of devotion and adoration, as her parents’ death casts a shadow over their marriage. Emotionally stunted by her father’s departure, Sultan lives a sheltered life in Istanbul, rarely making contact with her family. When word gets out that her late father was responsible for her success, she assumes her destiny and returns to New York City. There she meets her friend from college, Cameron Diaz, and realizes that she has a destiny in her own hands.
Despite its complex storyline, Sultan somehow manages to remain humorously funny, even when serious issues are raised or discussed. The movie’s first-act climax offers a surprising reveal of how Sultan’s alcoholic father died – by shooting himself in the mouth with his lover’s gun. The ensuing investigation into the affair that destroyed his marriage brings out old conflicts with his two other ex-wives. And just when we think the movie is taking the cake, we get one of the funniest sequences in recent memory: receiving flowers from a blindfolded Sultan (nicknamed “Tinkerbell”) who knows the secret he hid from her for years. The Blindfolded Sultan becomes a thorn in the side of Sultan’s ex-wife and ends up getting thrown into prison.
As the movie moves along, Sultan begins to change into something of a hermit, disappearing for long stretches of time. It’s implied that he might have a heart attack while in prison and is put on life support. Eventually, Sultan gets out and runs away again. However, he’s pursued by a group of IRA members who want to take him back.
Sultan then escapes from the IRA and returns to his hometown. He then reunites with his old flame, Cameron Diaz. The two high school sweethearts quickly start falling in love and pregnancy arrives soon after. The movie ends with the two happily married and on their way to a new life.
Sultan is based on the real-life story of an American businessman, Sultan Osman Al-Husseini. Sultan was born in Ethiopia where his parents came from. Growing up in Southern California, Sultan spent much of his youth living with his Uncle. At the age of nine he took on his Uncle’s apprentice and went on to become a successful business man in San Diego. Although most of the book is centered on Sultan’s rise to power in San Diego, a large chunk of the book is dedicated to his courtship of Cameron Diaz.
The movie is quite successful at telling the story of a young man’s rise to success and his determination not to be a part of that success. Sultan may have started out as just another streetwise street hustler, but he became something more. Throughout the story we are shown a character who isn’t afraid to take on bigger and better challenges, even when it means risking lives and risking everything he owns. The book ends with Sultan so thoroughly charmed by the prospect of starting a family that he decides to give up everything and move to California with Cameron.
If you haven’t read the book, or don’t like reading too much, this movie is not for you. However, if you do enjoy historical fiction with some suspense, intrigue, and adventure, then this movie is a must-see. The picture is stunning and the acting is very good. Couple that with Sultan’s strong personality and you have a film you’ll find very hard to forget. If you’ve never seen a Sultan movie before, this is one you definitely should check out…