A Hero ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Review by Andrea Carnevali
Rahim is in prison because of a debt he was unable to repay. During a two-day leave, he tries to convince his creditor to withdraw his complaint against the payment of part of the sum. But things don’t go as planned. In selected cinemas right now and on Amazon Prime from 21 January.
Iranian writer/director Asghar Farhadi is among those very few selected foreign directors who have won more than one Oscar: in 2016 for The Salesman and in 2011 for A Separation.
He has an innate ability to tell seemingly simple and intimate stories about families and decent people in Iran, in challenging situations without ever moralising or judging.
A Hero is no exception. A moral tale without being preachy. A character study about nobility, integrity, honesty, truth and lies… and social media (and yet without a single computer or phone screen in sight), dressed up almost like a thriller.
Part of the success of the film – beyond very competent and yet never intrusive or condescending direction – lays in the splendid central performance by Amir Jadidi who plays Rahim, a very unlucky man who is serving time in a debtors prison (yes, there are such things in Iran: minimum-security prisons for those who have been unable to pay their debts).
During a two-day parole, when he’s allowed to visit his family and look for a job, he comes across a lost bag full of golden coins. After a first moment of doubt, he decides to return the finding. His honesty is celebrated by his friends and even the media. But soon the cards start to turn as he gets more and more tangled up by a series of seemingly innocent events which unexpectedly seem to go wrong at every turn.
And so, what starts off as a delicate portrait of a simple man on his way to redemption, slowly becomes a gripping labyrinthine story which, despite being always quiet and understated, kept me on edge until the very last frame.
Jadidi is so charming, every time he smiles he really lights up the screen, which makes his tragic slippery descent into chaos even more heart-breaking.
Andrea Carnevali is a Bafta winning film maker who lives in Chiswick.
A Hero is on in selected cinemas right now and on Amazon Prime from 21 January.
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