A Hero broke me in a way I didn’t feel for quite some time. Wanna know why? Want to discuss other aspects of the film as well? So, stick with me until the end of the post. Let’s go!
What’s up?! I’m Marlon and this is Of The Mice.
We’re reviewing a movie from each country that played the FIFA World Cup. Today, we’ll review the Iranian movie A Hero, directed by Asghar Farhadi.
Rahim (played by Amir Jadidi) is in jail for a debt he wasn’t able to pay. So when he has a leave, he tries to pay part of his debt someway in hopes his creditor (played by Mohsen Tanabandeh) will withdraw his complaint and he won’t have to go back to jail.
Around eight years ago, when I was still in college, a teacher asked us to do an essay about the movie Detachment with Adrien Brody.
At that time, I was going through some things in my life, so I watched the movie, one thing added to the other, and that was it. It completely fucked me up. That sensation in your gut, the felling that it really got you. My late teacher of psychoanalysis would call it “The Thing”.
A Hero evoked the same ‘thing’ in me now. The difference is that I’m not going through shit and the movie punched me in the gut and broke me.
At the beginning of the movie, Rahim gets into a huge archeological excavation where he starts to climb a scaffolding. It’s interminable. He climbs and climbs, and it seems he never gets where he needs to. That’s a perfect analogy for the movie itself.
We’ll get there. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
The plot is actually quite simple, but with many turnarounds and moral complexity, it makes the movie more than its simplicity might suggest at first.
One of the moral things the movie brings up is how the saying goes: no good deed goes unpunished. In retrospect, we think it would be better to not have done the right thing, and just act in self-interest, but we hardly think like that.
To make the moral aspect even harder, some information is never clear to us. For example, who’s spreading doubts about Rahim on social media? I suspect someone, but it’s not clear. What’s the circumstance of his divorce? Was it just a wearing relationship, as he said, or something else, as his creditor, Bahram implied?
We’ll never know, and it doesn’t matter, because it adds depth to the story and its characters. Since we’re at it, the characters are great, complex, well-crafted and relatable.
I feel like the situation Rahim gets himself in can happen to anyone in the working class. Anyone can get in a debt that he or she won’t be able to pay, suffering all the restrictions that most societies impose on working people with debt.
The movie is stressfully relatable. You can feel yourself in the place of Rahim, unable to raise his son properly, or even of the boy, seeing his father soon to go to jail again and unable to turn things around. Most of the other characters are relatable, even those in opposition to the protagonist, like Bahram.
However, the thing that affected me the most was seeing Rahim in a corner, in a situation without solution or perspective of a better future. Away from his son, family, and girlfriend. No job, no way to pay the debt, and with his image questioned all over social media.
Imagine the despair of looking for a future and only finding disgrace. This thought made my legs numb. And, unless you have a vast inheritance, or are the owner of a “too-big-to-fail” business, you should feel the same way, because our class makes us one step away from being in this hopeless situation.
Let’s move to another point of excellence: the acting. I love everyone, but as the protagonist, Amir Jadidi was the one that moved me the most.
His performance is perfect, and it’s in the detail. He doesn’t need to shout and drool to show his character’s emotions. These emotions he transmitted were fundamental to the experience the movie was.
His son, Siavash (played by Saleh Karimaei), gives a heartbreak performance. His stutterer makes that nobody has any patience to hear what he has to say. Every time he tries to speak, somebody interrupts him, not giving him the opportunity to hear what he witnessed.
I think the boy really stutterer, because if he doesn’t, he’s one of the best young actors I have ever seen, but regardless, he gives an amazing performance. Mostly with his facial expressions and his mannerisms, he conveys everything needed. We really feel for his character when he cries, because he’s so genuine.
Everything looks beautiful to me. Beginning with the archeological excavation I mentioned earlier.
I love the colors, the contrast and how visually clear the movie is. The settings are believable, looking like there are people living and working in the places. Also, the locations have credible sounds, the people chatting, music coming from the commercial buildings, so on.
A Hero is one of the best movies I’ve seen this year. It’s a well-constructed story, with excellent characters and outstanding in evokes thoughts and emotions. I’ll give A Hero 5 out of 5.
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