The Salesman (2016)

The Salesman Movie Review………………………………………………………………………

The Salesman Movie Review

The Salesman is a 2016 Iranian drama film directed by Asghar Farhadi and starring Shahab Hosseini and Taraneh Alidoosti. It is one of the year’s best films.

……………………………………………………………………..

They ruined this city once.

They built it again and now this is it

……………………………………………………………………..

The Salesman Movie Review……………………………………………………………………..

I found the film’s premise to be awfully specific, yet it is executed in the best way possible and it leads to a lot of fantastic and thought-provoking conversations. The film also very smoothly transitions from a family drama to an almost thriller-like movie with an intense scenario. It does feel like two different movies, but both are great and again the transition is very good and that helps lead to a well structured, polished film.

The characters are terrific and so well developed and they feel real owing to great characterization and a smart script, but mostly because the acting is so great. This is easily one of the year’s best acted movies with two of the best performances given here. Shahab Hosseini is amazing. He is so competent and subtle in a very difficult role. But Taraneh Alidoosti is also fantastic as she sold all of those emotional scenes. The two carry the movie on their shoulders with two masterful performances.

But of course Asghar Farhadi is the biggest reason why this film works. His direction here is probably the year’s best and again a proof that he is one of the best directors working today. Such a superb, visionary director. And the fact that he wrote the screenplay too only further underscores his immense talents.

………………………………………………………………………

The Salesman Movie Review………………………………………………………………………

The Salesman features fantastic dialogue. It is so realistic in its conversations as it feels as if watching real people talk. The dialogue is both realistic and clever as the film deals with a lot of thought-provoking ideas. The man’s wife is attacked and he yells at her that she is overly paranoid and that she needs to get over her fears. Is she too paranoid or is he overly harsh to her wife in need of emotional support?

But of course the major question is asked in the film’s last, prolonged sequence. He finds the attacker, but he turns out to be old. He wants to humiliate him in front of his family, but eventually gives up on that idea. But because the man has heart problems, he eventually collapses and the film ends ambiguously. He committed a crime, but he apologized and Emad still tortured him psychologically and thus he eventually hurt him.

 That whole sequence is so intense and so difficult to watch and sometimes even unpleasant, but it still showcases how strong the film is as a whole that it can get to you and produce such an emotional reaction as it did to me personally. That is because all of these people feel real and also relatable and even though the situation is difficult to happen in real life, it led to so many interesting discussions that it was worth it. The conflict that arose between the two spouses is strong enough on its own, but the whole attacker/cheater aspect led to this film being such a richly layered, incredibly sophisticated drama.

………………………………………………………………………

The Salesman Movie Review………………………………………………………………………

The editing is fantastic and it is one of the year’s tightest and most polished features as it is never rushed or slow. The use of the famous play by Arthur Miller is also solid and well incorporated into the narrative. The film is well filmed, well scored and so well scripted and directed. It is one of those movies that are difficult to watch, but are worth it in the long run as you end up with one of the best foreign films of 2016 and one of the most complex and smartest recent films from any country. Farhadi is a talent to watch and I am looking forward to his next film.

The Salesman is very difficult and even unpleasant to watch at times, but it is worth it as it is such a powerful, deep and richly layered picture that fascinated me and engaged me emotionally. The performances from Shahab Hosseini and Taraneh Alidoosti are absolutely fantastic and the direction from Asghar Farhadi is simply brilliant. He is definitely one of the best and most talented directors working today. This film is so well written with great dialogue, but with the last, prolonged sequence being the highlight; it is complex and thought-provoking in its difficult situation. It is undoubtedly one of the best films of 2016.

My Rating – 4.5

………………………………………………………………………

Share

The Cow (1969)

The Cow Movie Review

The Cow Movie Review

The Cow is a 1969 Iranian drama film directed by Dariush Mehrjui and starring Ezzatolah Entezami. It is one of the major classics of its country and for many good reasons.

The film is about a man’s relationship with a cow. After the cow gets killed, the other villagers break him the news and his mental state quickly deteriorates. I really enjoyed this film and found its plot to be simplistic, but wonderfully so. The film is so well crafted and it tells its story in a great way, by focusing on emotion and character interactions. The film is so heartbreaking, but also incredibly realistic in its portrayal of villagers.

The characters are all very well realized with Hassan being the standout naturally. You really feel for him and I particularly liked his relationship with other men in the village. The men are so well portrayed here and they are all so good-natured and genuinely wanted to help him. You can easily see the care in their talk and in their eyes and that was just so wonderful to witness and it brought a smile to my face.

The acting is excellent, all of the actors did a splendid job, but it is Ezzatolah Entezami who is superb in the main role as he gave a terrific performance. Dariush Mehrjui also did a magnificent job as a director as the film is so well directed and crafted. The Cow is also for the most time really well edited and paced and I liked some of its imagery quite a bit. The cinematography is solid, but some of its more intense in nature sequences are just so well executed and wonderfully atmospheric. I really liked the film’s look.

The Cow isn’t a perfect film as it has its problems which are mainly the first and third act. Now, they are definitely good, but they are still never as terrific as the second act is. The beginning should have been more memorable and better realized and the ending kind of disappointed me and I can’t help but wish that the movie hadn’t gone into boanthropy territory. I know that it is important to the story, but just the pure mental breakdown itself would have sufficed. Nevertheless, those scenes were still tragic and so moving and the film is mostly excellent. It’s just that it could have been even better in my opinion had they fixed some of those things that I mentioned.

The score is quite good, but the film’s emotion is evident and it is always natural and it never went into overly maudlin territory which I appreciated a lot. The Cow is basically a neorealist film as it has a very realistic storytelling and characterization, but also contains a heartfelt, touching feel to it. And I loved that about it. The dialogue is also really good and the movie even has a bit of the humor at times which is nice. The film is also so memorable and it always has that crucial feel to it in that you feel that you are watching something important. And it is important and it is a classic of Iranian cinema and I wholeheartedly agree with that sentiment as it is also one of the finest 1969 films that I’ve seen so far.

The Cow is a terrific film that benefits from a great neorealist approach with a very realistic plot and characters, but also having such a strong emotional grip with many moving scenes in it. The film isn’t perfect, but it is mostly great with excellent directing and acting, realistic characters and such a heartbreaking story to it. It is in the end rightfully considered to be an Iranian classic.

My Rating – 4.5

Share

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014)

A Girl Walks Home Alone at NightA Girl Walks Home Alone at Night Review

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is a 2014 Iranian horror film directed by Ana Lily Amirpour and it is a critically acclaimed film and I would even say that it is the best vampire horror film of all time.

The story is simple. It follows a vampire girl who stalks and kills people, but who is also very lonely and sad. And it is set in the fictional Bad City and it perfectly captures the mood of death, despair and loneliness. The story may be too simplistic, but is perfectly executed and is engaging from start to finish.
As for the characters, they are all pretty well developed. And acted. The acting in this movie is superb. The vampire girl and Arash as main characters are wonderful, they have their personalities and their troubles and the relationship they develop is very intriguing and interesting to watch. And the rest of the characters are good and serve their purpose.
You cannot talk about this film without mentioning its technical aspects which are all splendid to behold. The sound design is the first thing here. It is absolutely stunning, perfectly capturing the intensity and making you feel uncomfortable and scared with its background fabric noise. And the soundtrack is absolutely terrific and authentic with its intriguing mix of American old and new music with Iranian songs. But the cinematography is amazing to witness. This is one of the most beautifully shot films I have seen in a while. And it is one of the major reasons why the movie is destined to become a classic it deserves to be. Each and every shot is excellently considered and executed leading to a lot of very iconic and memorable shots and angles.
And the black-and-white cinematography is perfect for this film and it is definitely fitting to the mood and is incredibly satisfying. It created some breathtaking imagery here. I always wondered why other directors don’t use black-and-white cinematography for their horror films when it is absolutely perfect for the medium. It helps raise the tension and provoke fear and I hope people will take this as an example and a lesson how to make it work. This is one of the best and most beautifully executed black-and-white films recently.
The tone is great in the movie. It is mostly scary and tense, but it sometimes takes its time to present some comic as well as emotional moments and those are great. As for the editing, it is probably my only bigger problem here. While this film is decidedly slower paced and I don’t mind that because it works for this kind of film and it is never, ever boring, the beginning should have been reduced a bit in order to have some character development put in there whereas the ending to me is somehow unsatisfying and disappointing. But those are minor flaws that don’t take away much from this spectacular movie.
As for the scares, this is the most frightening film since ‘The Conjuring’. Because everything is perfectly executed and the sound is amazing and incredibly effective, you really get scared at times thanks to excellent jump scares as well as wonderfully done stalker sequences that are eerie and indescribably tense. They are Hitchcockian in style meaning that you wait for them thanks to strong build-up, but when they arrive, they’re superbly achieved making you scare and appreciate the movie even more.
The film is also very original and authentic. Never have there been a film like this. It is incredibly authentic. And also very realistic, memorable and never predictable. It is artistic thanks to its cinematography and scenery to the point that I would call it art because it truly is that. And the picture has a quality in that it has both brain and heart to it. It is both grounded in its approach and very touching at times which is perfect and very rare for the genre.

All in all, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night has amazing cinematography, stunning sound design, good characters and setting, but above all it is authentic, scary, effective and perfectly executed and directed. It is the very best horror film of the year and one of the finest horror films of all time and the finest vampire flick ever made. A masterpiece, a future classic and simply put art.

My Rating – 4,5

Share