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A decent but troubled young man is sent to a psychiatric institution for the criminally insane and soon finds himself in a fight for his life battling ghosts inside his head and very real enemies all around him.
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An Iranian assassin is sent to the United States to kill a former Iranian official who served under the Shah of Iran. The night before the assassination he find out that his target (Mr. ... See full summary »
In the scene where Mary's father (Darius) turns around and leaves, after he is prevented from entering the store after the store owner posts the "Closed" sign and hides in the back, a 1990 Volvo 740GL rolls slowly by in the street in front of him. The film's setting is 1979. See more »
This was a very odd viewing experience that vacillated between an absolutely compelling tale and a contrived after-school special. Some horrible acting by the lesser parts (the other high schoolers, the gun dealer) would clash with some tremendous acting by the leads.
I think this may be a by-product of the ancient curse and blessing that comes with "based on a true story." Evidently some of the emotional resonance comes from director Ramin Serry's own travails and travels. Strangled by yellow ribbons?
His own history likely put the real in the relationship between maiden Maryam with her Mom and Dad. The play of boundaries between them, both as child/parents and American/immigrant provide this film with its best moments. Even ninth generation Americans see their folks as aliens...
Meanwhile, despite David Ackert's fine work, his character of Ali is doomed by his eventual actions. The most outlandish of which, according to the commentary, is something that actually sort of happened. Yes, truth is stranger than fiction; but it is not as often as telling.
That outlandish act revolves around a political crisis, but this film when it succeeds (which was often for me) does so when it strives to avoid the political, for the personal. The interaction of Maryam and her cousin are more effective than a thousand placards. There's a great scene wherein Maryam, on the defensive to Ali, strikes back by questioning the depth of his devotion for such a recent convert.
Wethinks he doth protest too much....which ties to...
The character of Ali's dad, that was fascinating to me. Though he's not really portrayed much more than a stunt man's fall, how that character is delineated by others made me hungry to hear or see more. Also how could you not adore Shohreh Aghdashloo as Maryam's mother...I suspect in nearly every house, in every country, it is mothers such as her character here that hold every thing together.
When this film screams for common sense, she delivers it. And I think in watching this, and the world at large, accenting that which is common and sensible is what we all want.
Despite its flaws, I enjoyed this film and hope others will as well. As much as I detest TV, America sorely needs a Persian version of the Huxtables (hopefully with the sitcom written by Firoozeh Dumas who wrote the uncommonly hilarious yet heartfelt book, "Funny in Farsi").
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