A HERO (Ghahreman)

(director/writer: Asghar Farhadi; cinematographers: Ali Ghazi, Arash Ramezani; editor: Hayedeh Safiyari; cast: Amir Jadidi(Rahim), Sarah Goldoust (Farkhondeh), Sarina Farhadi (Nazanin), Mohsen Tanabandeh (Bahram), Fereshteh Sadre Orafaiy (Mme Radmehr), Ehsan Goodarzi (NadeAli), Maryam Shahdaei (Malileh), Ali Reza Jahandideh (Hossein), Saleh Karimai (Siavash); Runtime: 127; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producers; Asghar Farhadi, Alexandre Mallet-Guy: Amazon Studios; 2021-Iran/France-in Persian with English subtitles)

“Wonderful thriller.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

The outstanding Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi (“A Separation”/”The Salesman”) is the auteur of this wonderful thriller, a cynical tale of false heroics. It plays out as a moral parable about what might happen when a good deed goes wrong.

It takes place in the Iranian city of Shiraz, where an unlucky man, a working-class sign-painter named Rahim (Amir Jadidi), is serving three years in debtors’ prison. Rahim is released on two days’ leave to visit his family, and the divorced man returns home to see his anxious young son (Saleh Karimai), his older sister (Maryam Shahdie) and her supportive husband (Ali Reza Jahandideh) and the daughter of his victimized creditor (Sarina Farhadi).

Rahim also has a girlfriend, Farkhondeh (Sahar Goldoost), who recently found a handbag in the street containing 17 gold coins, which they try to sell in hopes of paying off Rahim’s creditor, his former brother-in-law Braham (Mohsen Tanabandeh). He lent him a fortune to keep his failing business afloat from loan sharks, and is adamant about keeping him behind bars as he now finds him untrustworthy.
When the cunning jailbird discovers that the coins can’t cover his debts, he instead schemes to rehabilitate his image. He puts up fliers around town trying to track down the bag’s owner. Thereby he finds a woman who claims the coins belong to her. Rahim publicizes his Good Citizen bit, and his story makes headlines on the news and on social media. This encourages a charity group of citizens to raise money on his behalf so his debt is paid off. When the lady meets him in his prison cell to have the coins returned, he gets released and the warden finds him a government job.

But soon social media finds many inconsistencies in his story, and he no longer is seen as a hero. It results in his prison release being rescinded.

It won the Cannes Grand Prix award.;

REVIEWED ON 2/22/2022  GRADE: B+