Rosewater

"Extraordinary"

Rosewater Review


A harrowing true story infused with sharp humour and bristling intelligence, this riveting film is an auspicious writing-directing debut for TV news comic Jon Stewart. It's based on London-based journalist Maziar Bahari's book Then They Came for Me, a strikingly intimate memoir about being imprisoned in Iran. But the film never becomes a rant at an unjust society. Instead, it digs deep beneath the surface to find much more resonant, and more important, themes.

Maziar (Gael Garcia Bernal) left his pregnant wife (Claire Foy) at home in Britain to travel to Tehran to cover the contentious 2009 elections, after which the streets broke out in protests at what people saw as a rigged victory for Ahmadinejad. Maziar stays to report on this, and does a comical interview with a member of Stewart's team at The Daily Show. But the regime sees this as cooperation with an enemy, and arrests Maziar in his mother's (Shohreh Aghdashloo) home, charging him with espionage. While held in the notorious Evin Prison for nearly four months, Maziar is subjected to psychological torture at the hands of an interrogator (Kim Bodnia) he names "Rosewater" because of his scent. And the memories of similar experiences endured by his father and sister (Haluk Bilginer and Golshifteh Farahani) help Maziar survive his ordeal.

As a director, Stewart continually finds clever ways of revealing the inner workings of Maziar's mind, revealing his thoughts in inventive imagery and sounds. For example, one sequence beautifully weaves in Leonard Cohen's Dance Me to the Edge of Love, which holds a powerful memory for Maziar and also echoes the music and movies Iran's religious regime has strictly forbidden. Even the ghostly appearances of Maziar's father and sister are seamlessly integrated into the story. And the other significant achievement here is a refusal to make anyone a villain. As played by Bodnia, Rosewater is a man doing what he believes to be right, with pangs of conscience that eerily echo the news headlines about how American interrogators mistreated prisoners at Abu Ghraib and Bagram.

Refreshingly, none of these big issues is overstated, while Garcia Bernal offers yet another strikingly authentic performance that taps deep beneath the surface to convey Maziar's wit and compassion. This means that his encounters with Bodnia are far more involving than expected. And since there's so much going on in each scene, with layers of meaning swirling around the central plot, everything that happens carries a huge kick of raw emotion. So in the end, this is not just a potent statement about free speech, it's a vivid, sensitive portrayal of why humanity needs to talk instead of fight.


Rosewater Trailer

 



Rosewater

Facts and Figures

Genre: Dramas

Run time: 103 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 27th November 2014

Distributed by: Open Road Films

Production compaines: Open Road Films, Odd Lot Entertainment, Busboy Productions

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 75%
Fresh: 89 Rotten: 30

IMDB: 6.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Maziar Bahari, as Moloojoon, as Jason Jones, Haluk Bilginer as Baba Akbar, Nasser Faris as Haj Agha, Andrew Gower as Jimmy the avid editor

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