Genre: Drama, Thriller
Director: Asghar Farhadi
Cast: Amir Jadidi, Mohsen Tanabande, Fereshteh Sadr Orafaee, Maryam Shahdaie, Sahar Goldust, Ehsan Goodarzi, Sarina Farhadi, Ali Reza Jahandideh, Farrokh Nourbakht, Mohammad Aghebati, Saleh Karimai
Runtime: 127Plot: 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. Is he truly a hero?
With Farhadi, nothing is ever as simple as it seems. Every thought and glance - let alone action - has consequences (as does inaction). The auteur weaves a complex web of motivations into the most elemental of deeds. The notions of 'good' and 'bad' are far less important than the moral and ethical implications. The title itself ironically invokes what happens to Rahim's reputation -- as well as those of his family and anybody else who are drawn into his entanglements.
The screenplay evokes classic Italian Neo-realism where something as innocent as buying a pair of shoes can create a whole complex journey around it (an example which the great screenwriter Cesare Zavattini himself used). Farhadi includes current technology such as social media, but, at it's heart, it's a tale of a man and his choices. The setting in Iran is also cleverly woven into the fabric of the storytelling with its notions of family honor and treatment of women being key subtexts.. There are a few moments here and there that get a bit repetitive, but, there is always a sense that Farhadi is firmly in control of the narrative.
None of this would work without some fine acting and Farhadi's keen eye. Jadidi is excellent as the hapless 'hero'. Mohsen Tanabandeh is equally fine as the stubbornly proud creditor as are several more in the large cast. Each actor perfectly representing their character's particular viewpoint. Farhadi isn't a stylist in the common cinefile definition of the word, but his precise camera placements and editing nonetheless mark him as one of the finest Director's working in the world. A HERO adds to his impressive resume.