Iranian director Asghar Farhadi is simply one of the greatest filmmakers of his generation. His 2011 film, "A Separation" stands out as one of the very best films of the past several decades...and that's no understatement. You can always count on tense, deeply personal moral conflicts in a Farhadi film, served without any judgment or bias. His latest effort, "A Hero," is no different, and is a deeply compelling film that offers no easy answers...just the way that Farhadi likes it.
Amir Jadidi plays Rahim, a man who was imprisoned because of a debt that he could not pay. Simplified tremendously, Rahim is given a two-day leave and is put in a situation where a little lie could buy him his freedom. It's a well-intentioned attempt, but that little lie spirals out of control and before you know it, Rahim, his family, and his special-needs son are caught up in a massive web, and are in way over their heads.
Rahim ends up caught in a sort of moral quicksand, where the more he tries to do the deeper he sinks. Characters that seem antagonistic are never so clearly labeled in a Farhadi film, as he shades each player with a rich gray palette. You come to understand, for example, the perspective of the man that Rahim owes his debt, even though this man seems a bit cold and callous upon first meeting him.
As you dive deeper into "A Hero," Farhadi expertly twists the viewer's perspective so that you aren't quite sure who to root for, if anyone. In lesser hands, this would feel like manipulation but instead it just feels like we are being shown different facets one by one, of an ever-changing situation. In the end, you are left to make your own conclusions...a satisfying feeling given the journey you've just been taken on, knowing that there wasn't some sort of condescending "life lesson" waiting at the end of the rainbow.
"A Hero" is just another example of Asghar Farhadi's mastery of his craft...a visionary filmmaker interested in stories that actually matter, about people who are trying to do the right thing but aren't equipped with the knowledge of how exactly to go about doing so.
Genre: Drama, Thriller.
Run Time: 2 hours 7 minutes.
Starring: Amir Jadidi, Sarina Farhadi, Fereshteh Sadre Orafaiy, Mohsen Tanabandeh.
Written and Directed by Asghar Farhadi ("The Salesman," "The Past," "A Separation").
"A Hero" is in theaters on Friday, January 7th, 2022.
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