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Forced to leave their collapsing house, Ranaa and Emad, an Iranian couple who happen to be performers rehearsing for Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman" rent a new apartment from one of their fellow performers. Unaware of the fact that the previous tenant had been a woman of ill repute having many clients, they settle down. By a nasty turn of events one of the clients pays a visit to the apartment one night while Ranaa is alone at home taking a bath and the aftermath turns the peaceful life of the couple upside down. Written by
During early production, Farhadi posted an ad on social media asking people to send in short video auditions of themselves. Thousands of Iranians participated in this call for auditions with the hope of appearing in Farhadi's latest film. See more »
At the beginning of the movie, people are leaving the apartment because it is dangerous and there is a risk of collapsing. But later on, the next days they can easily enter the building and there is no police/municipality line tape in front of the building to prevent people from entering the dangerous area. See more »
I am struck at the complexity of this film, and the reflective nature of its narrative structure. Action or events as a device to look at our natures, choices, motives, drives and dreams. And let's not stop there. How about actors acting theater scenes, and throw in a play within a play to boot, for good measure.
I know I sound somewhat critical above, and under less skilled hands, such criticism would be warranted. But not here. THE SALESMAN is compelling from beginning to end. And using Arthur Miller's iconic play, THE DEATH OF A SALESMAN, works so well to comment on these character's dreams, failings, nobility and humanity.
A dream -- or rather dreams -- shattered by a single, accidental, innocent incident. At the end of the journey, of our own Odyssey, whether we arise as a hero or a victim depends on our choices, our attitudes, our sheer willfulness for goodness or our tendency for self-destruction. To me, this movie raised these issues, and more. I loved it. Compelling through and through, and from a most-gifted, cinematically articulate director.
Scoring the different elements of the film objectively, 1 to 4:
Script/Story: 4, loved it. And all this set against a backdrop of a crackling, fall building; a house of cards, if you will.
Cinematography/Visual Effects: 3.5. Well shot. Close shots heightened the tension.
Editing: 3.5. Well edited; kept the pacing of a natural thriller, but lacked the cheesiness of one.
Sound Effects: 3, competent sound mixing
Musical Score: 3; frankly do not recall any musical score underscoring the film. This is sad as I should have noticed. Was there one?
Performances: 4, extremely strong performances. Great ensemble work, and standout work by the two leads, and the old man, too. I was particularly touched by the scene between the two men when the lead told the old man to take off his shoes. This scene was so effectively shot. Slow pacing of the camera capturing every quiver of both performances. Wow.
Production Design: Sets, Locations, Costumes, etc.: 2.5; my complaint here deals with the shots from the theater itself where DEATH OF A SALESMAN was being performed. Needed something more here.
Would you recommend this movie to a friend? Absolutely; a fine work of cinema. And extremely provocative. Well written; well shot; well delivered. Most highly recommended. Strong Oscar contender for Best Foreign Language Film.
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