Sorry, this movie sucks
A Disappointing Continuation
The thing I enjoyed most about the film is the fact that it doesn't shy away from being a super-sized-cliche;
Like the great film, it's made with a great deal of visible affection both in front of and behind the camera.
Jon Stewart. Comedian. Astute political commentator. Filmmaker. He isn't known for the latter, but he should be. Since he is long finished with his reign on The Daily Show, he must consider making more films. Rosewater is a triumph. A strong cry for resistance of despotic regimes worldwide. A loud roar for freedom of speech and freedom of the press. Maziar Bahari is not fake news. He has a story that makes us all thankful that the monstrous Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is no longer in power. The interrogation scenes made me cringe in compassion for all political prisoners. Jon Stewart wanted to make a powerful statement and he succeeded. He's proved to be a provocateur with his on-stage persona.. but his filmmaking skills are equally as provoking.
Decent debut from Jon Stewart.The true story of Maziar Bahari, an Iran-Canadian Newsweek journalist who went back to Iran in 2009 to cover the national elections. Once the despot Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the incumbent, wins the Presidency, protests breaks out. After filming and reporting on the election and protests, Bahari is arrested, imprisoned and tortured.The first film, as director, for Jon Stewart, of The Daily Show fame. He also wrote the screenplay, adapted from Bahari's book "Then they came for me". A good place for Stewart to start as he knows Bahari well and had interviewed him many times on The Daily Show. Plus, Bahari's light-hearted interview with Jason Jones on The Daily Show is used against him during his arrest.An interesting story, though doesn't really cover any new ground regarding freedom and how despots treat their people. Not a very compelling story, for this reason. Stewart pretty much covers the story in linear, blow-by-blow fashion, with the only departure from this being that the first scene is Bahari's arrest, and then we go back in time to see what lead to it.Solid work from Gael Garcia Bernal in the lead role. Supporting cast are fine too.A good enough start from Jon Stewart. He had a story he wanted to tell, and he told it. With experience and confidence he'll get better at telling stories in movie form.
Give journalist and satirist Jon Stewart credit in the regard that, while he hosts a satirical news program on Comedy Central, he doesn't stay confined to the bubble of his network. With his directorial debut Rosewater, Stewart branches out and acknowledges the hugely topical issue of international journalists covering stories in places where uprisings are ongoing and are arrested, interrogated, tortured, and often killed for simply bearing witness to certain public events. It's a frightening reality, and Rosewater's theatrical release came around the time when numerous beheadings of journalists by the Islamic State were hitting mainstream Television, with front-page news basically justifying the existence of this particular film.The film recalls the true story of Maziar Bahari, an Iranian journalist who was arrested and interrogated whilst covering the 2009 Iranian election. The wonderful character actor Gael García Bernal plays Bahari, an idealistic young journalist who travels to Iran, leaving behind a newly pregnant wife. Bahari meets several young Iranian radicals, who are supporting the progressive candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi over the controversial, incumbent dictator Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He carries his camera throughout the land, and captures enormous, violent protests when Ahmadinejad wins the presidency by more than half the vote.Bahari is eventually arrested and mistaken for being a spy, on account of a satirical American Television program he did (where Jon Stewart's personal side of the story comes into play, as Bahari's real-life captivity was based off his appearance on an episode of Stewart's program The Daily Show). As a result, he is kept in solitary confinement, blindfolded and interrogated by a vicious man (Kim Bodnia) he only identifies by the smell of rosewater on his clothes.The captivity scenes are intriguing because of how Stewart confines us inside the four walls of Bahari's cold cell, rarely letting us peek at the outside world. Films that involve trapping lead characters should almost always do everything they can to keep us inside the room with them, as it's a tactic that allows for unblinking voyeurism into the character's situation and makes us feel just as trapped as he or she is. In this case, Stewart is smart to keep us in solitary confinement along with Bahari, only venturing out to show momentary reactions of family and news reports of his captivity once the information hits the mainstream airwaves.Stewart's directing, however, is largely uncharacteristic of anything I can immediately note, aside from a few intriguing unsteady shots. He doesn't adopt any kind of artful style during the entire film, which isn't a huge issue, and keeps every aesthetic relatively muted or on a basic level, ostensibly not to detract from the story, which Stewart clearly wants to be told. Bernal, once again, does a wonderful job at portraying subtle traits that make up an entire character; watch how Bernal's Bahari communicates largely in gestures and kind mannerisms, even to his captors. This was evidently something that wasn't explicitly stated in the screenplay, but something Bernal decided to carry out through his body language and his overall attitude throughout the film, making for a character that is instantly likable and a complete gentleman throughout.As stated, the timeliness of Rosewater really couldn't have been better. The safety and overall welfare of international journalists is an issue that deserves attention, and, as shown from this particular film, the repercussions of harm's way can be brutal (or even more brutal than show here). With that said, Stewart does his best not to make Rosewater emotionally manipulative, though he somewhat does during the later scenes involving Bahari's wife and the circulation of his captivity. Nonetheless, there's a lot going on here that warrants attention, and even if you separate the project from the name behind it, this is still a film well worth seeing, not only for its topical nature, but for Bernal's performance.Starring: Gael García Bernal, Kim Bodnia, and Shohreh Aghdashloo. Directed by: Jon Stewart.
I am trying hard to rack my brain to see if I remember the events of the film, Rosewater, surrounding Maziar Bahari, and everything than went on and happened to him during that period. All this happened just a few years ago (2009 to be exact) and I do seem to remember the Iranian election and the uproar and protests that went on afterwards, but unfortunately Bahari's story still remains a blank in my memory. This is not because the story is not important, but rather because I used to watch a lot of political and topical news on various channels over the years and sometimes if you watch it everyday, you just see so much different information and stories and sometimes it is hard to remember all the details, or all the events that happened. For this reason, I am glad that I had the chance to go and see Rosewater, because obviously it is history, even though being recent, it is something that I do not remember, so I am glad I was introduced to this film and to Bahari's story, because it is an important one. The film is based on the book "Then They Came for Me: A Family's Story of Love, Captivity and Survival" by Bahari, and if you watch the end credits of this film, you can see that he had a lot of connections and consultation to this film. The film's screenplay and direction is from Jon Stewart, of television's The Daily Show, of which just recently, Stewart announced that he would be leaving from. If you watch the film and do a little bit of research on it afterwards, you can definitely see why Stewart wanted to make this into a full length movie and not just a segment on his television show. Some would even be of the opinion that Stewart's program could have been a further instigator and certainly did not help Bahari's situation when he was imprisoned. Perhaps that is why Stewart took time off from doing his television show. In my opinion, I think he thought this was a story that definitely needed to be told and to also honour and in some ways apologize to Bahari, for the events that led up to his arrest and detainment. Stewart's loyalty and respect for him certainly comes through during the film and you can tell that he certainly thinks a lot and very highly of Bahari. I have never watched The Daily Show before, mostly because I had no interest in it and I think usually the humour they employ on the program (it is a satirical news program for those who have not seen it) is usually more democratic, or left leaning and I was personally afraid of it being a bit too biased, so on those accounts I stayed away from it. I have seen Stewart in some films before as well as when he hosted the 2006 Academy Awards, which unfortunately for Stewart did not turn out too well (although I was massively ticked off also that Crash, won that year over a handful of other worthy films), so that maybe had to do with some of my dislike for the year's awards ceremony anyhow. Back to Rosewater though, Stewart shows that he is a very capable writer and director and he does a good job on both accounts here. The film casts Gael Garcia Bernal (an actor who I have liked and enjoyed since his performance in Y Tu Mama Tambien) as Bahari and he does a very good job here. As does Kim Bodnia, who plays an interrogator who gives the film it's title name. The film is fascinating as it recounts these true events, but still makes them fresh and interesting whether you remembered a lot of these events happening, or were unbeknownst to them like I was. It all unfolded like a fascinating drama and the film certainly kept your interest and you really wanted to see how everything turned out at the end and I think the same would be true for people who are familiar with the story as well because of the strong filmmaking in front of and behind the camera. In Stewart's screenplay, he very wisely avoids all types of melodrama, which I think was the right choice here. Had this film been melodramatic the emotions you grow to have with the characters, would have felt more forced than something you feel for them because you like and grow to care for them and that just would not have worked. Fortunately also, I did not detect a strong political bias to the film, so for those who hate biased, or one sided storytelling can breathe clear, because the main message here is about freedom and how certain atrocities still go on around the world and we need to be aware of them, but at the same time the film does not feel like it is lecturing us, or telling us what to think, or even clearly demonizing anyone, or anything, but rather just tells the story facts and all. I found the two strongest characters to be Bahari as well as Kim Bodnia's character of the interrogator. Even though you are not rooting in any way for Bodnia's character, I found him to be a fascinating man and there seems to be more going on than what is first obvious and you can almost detect that he has his own fascination, or even to a small degree, respect, for Bahari and their interactions play out beautifully because of the strong writing and also the top notch performances from these two men. Having now watched Rosewater, I do consider it to be a film of importance and deserves to be seen and have it's story told.