One hour and a half of nothing
Yo, there's no way for me to review this film without saying, take your *insert ethnicity + "ass" here* to see this film,like now. You have to see it in order to know what you're really messing with.
It's easily one of the freshest, sharpest and most enjoyable films of this year.
It’s not bad or unwatchable but despite the amplitude of the spectacle, the end result is underwhelming.
I read other reviews and ratings and wondered if they watched the same movie or maybe a poor pirated copy.
It is a disturbing story because it portrays life under a hypocritical & corrupt regime that uses religion as an excuse to perpetuate cruel acts of violence, sadism, theft, torture and brutal murder.
It does not tell the whole story but gives an insight into the impact on one family and those around them.
I grew up hearing these stories and by coincidence sat across a table today from a young woman whose true story was so extraordinarily similar.
I have Iranian friends who experienced the cultural/political overthrow of Iran, I was advised to watch this movie by a doctor friend. He said all his Christian and Jewish friends simply "disappeared". He told me many horror stories, he finally got to the UK. Another friend barely escaped Iran after her father paid Americans to get her to Bahrain. Both of her parents died in prison. So, this film is very accurate per many accounts.
I watched this movie on Netflix Canada where it was called "Enemy Territory." Set in Tehran in 1979 about eight months after the Iranian Revolution that overthrew the Shah and brought Ayatollah Khomeini to power, the movie basically tells the story of one affluent Jewish family living in the city and trying to navigate their way through the chaotic times.Adiren Brody played Isaac, husband to Farnez (Salma Hayak) and father to Parviz and Shirin. Isaac is a successful jeweller who stays out of politics and looks after his business, treating his Muslim employees well. The biggest mark against him is that he regularly travels to Israel to visit family. As the movie opens, the family is happy and successful and celebrating Parviz' opportunity to go to school in the United States. All seems well, even in the aftermath of the revolution. But suddenly Isaac is arrested, and the family finds itself living in a nightmare. Confined to a prison, Issac is questioned and tortured in an attempt to get information from him. Most of the torture was not especially graphic, but there was one unsettling scene in which Isaac is tied and beaten. His wife and young daughter aren't given much information about where he is, and for a time don't know if he's alive or dead. You feel for the family's plight, and you hope for their eventual escape, but for me Isaac's story and the family's troubles were secondary. I found this movie more interesting for offering a few different takes on what the Revolution was all about.To be honest, the religious aspect of the Iranian Revolution wasn't much depicted. But I found three competing narratives that told the Revolution's story. There were those who honestly saw the Revolution as an attempt to right social injustices and to free Iran from foreign domination. Much of this was seen through Habibeh (Shohreh Aghdashloo) - who worked for the family but who was also a friend to them, but who was increasingly aware of the discrepancy between the two. As she noted once, in all the years she had worked for them she had never been asked to share a meal with them. Watching her struggle within herself about the meaning of the Revolution was interesting, and Aghdashloo did a good job of portraying that internal struggle. Then there was Habibeh's son Morteza (Navid Navid.) Essentially he and his cohorts are the thugs who appear in every revolution (or even just protest) and use the events as an opportunity to wreak havoc. Morteza steals everything from Isaac, in spite oft he fact that Isaac had been very good to him. And there's Mohsen (Alon Aboutboul) - in charge of the prison where Isaac is held. His character makes the point out that even revolutionaries are for sale. Once Isaac arranges to give him a lot of money (donated to the revolution, of course) Mohsen suddenly arranges for Isaac's release and gains him and his family safe travel out of the country. None of that is earth-shattering, but I thought it was a well done portrayal of the multi-faceted motivations behind a revolution.I can't say this was a particularly exciting story. There is some drama toward the end as the family approaches Turkey, and it isn't at all clear that they'll make their escape, but beyond that it's a relatively straightforward movie. Isaac gets arrested; Isaac gets tortured; Isaac gets released; Isaac flees with his family. It's not complicated. But somehow I did like the portrayal of the Revolution. (7/10)
The only truth is that the movie is mediocre at best, regardless of the propaganda aspect. It's overwhelmingly one sided in substance and disappointing to watch, since it actually distorts the cause of certain historical events which took place. It tries too hard to focus on a single side effect of the revolution, and at a certain point, it becomes insulting to ones intelligence regardless of political views. Obviously, the reason is that it doesn't want to exposed any other detail about grievances a whole people might have had, as would be the case in any revolution. It claims to be based on true events, but those events are manipulated and exaggerated to such a degree that you walk away hating a whole people, not knowing really why... and not learning anything new.