Andrea’s film review – Tehran – Season 1

Tehran – Season 1 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1/2 Review by Andrea Carnevali

A Mossad agent embarks on her first mission as a computer hacker in her home town of Tehran. Available to watch on Apple + Season 2 now also streaming on Apple +

This beautifully crafted and completely gripping Iranian series tells the story of Tamar, a young Israeli woman born in Iran, who’s an undercover agent and a computer hacker, on a dangerous and complicated mission to paralyze the Iranian anti-aircraft security systems and essentially the Iranian nuclear programme.

It’s the kind of edge-of-your-seat stuff you might have seen (and loved) before, in series like Homeland and even 24, full of double-crossing, hidden moles, shootings, unexpected twists and deaths, and lots of cliff-hangers which will make you go “OK, one more episode and then I’ll go to bed” all the way to the silly hours of the night. I lapped it all up in two nights!

However, beyond the cracking action, the thrilling chases and the nail-biting tension (all of which are great), what really sets this series apart from anything else about espionage and security agencies, is the fact that it is all seen from a place we don’t usually get to see: Iran and its capital.

Well, actually this is mostly filmed in Athens, but the series seems to perfectly capture the atmosphere of the sprawling Tehran, with all its diverse people and its political complexities, as well the clash between the Israeli and Iranian cultures take centre stage. But the beauty of it is how it skilfully manages to avoid cheap simplifications or obvious stereotypes and crucially political propaganda.

In fact, throughout the eight episodes of the first season the audience’s trust and sympathies are constantly shifting from one side to the other character as the line between “good guys” and “bad guys” is often very difficult to draw.

Most of the characters are all fully rounded people with great depths, emotions and humanity, with weaknesses, strong motivations and feelings, which will take you by surprise and will make you feel sorry for them at one point and hate then a second later … And then vice-versa.

There will be time when you might get slightly lost at the complexities of what’s actually going on (also, it’s spoken in three languages: Hebrew, Persian and English) but don’t worry, it’s all part of it. Just stick with it and soon it’ll all make sense and even if there are moments where it could have been a bit tighter, it’ll soon grip you and push you to the edge of your sofa.

Season 2, which incidentally won an Emmy for Best international series, has just started on Apple+, with Glenn Close as a new recurring character.

What better excuse to dive into it?

Andrea Carnevali is a Bafta winning film maker who lives in Chiswick

Tehran Series 1 is available to watch on Apple + Season 2 is now also streaming on Apple +

See all Andrea’s film reviews here: Film reviews by Andrea Carnevali

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