Akbar has just turned eighteen. He has been held in a rehabilitation centre for committing murder at the age of sixteen when he was condemned to death. Legally speaking, he had to reach the... See full summary »
I caught this film at the Toronto International Film Festival and was frankly somewhat disappointed. The film is well acted and crafted, but both the story and the cinematography, with its washed out, almost black-and-white, color palette, made me uncomfortable most of the way through the film. The story centers on the relationship between a heroin-addicted daughter and her mother. The part of the daughter is played movingly by director Rakhshan Bani-Etemad's real life daughter. The mother character suffers and ultimately facilitates the daughter's addiction, while the daughter endlessly cycles between giving lip service to wanting to clean up, and then getting high "one last time." Good intentions, drugs, and self destruction have been treated more effectively in many other films over the past several decades, for instance Midnight Cowboy. Perhaps because of that, the story here doesn't seem fresh. My hat is off to Rakhshan Bani-Etemad though. It must have taken incredible perseverance to succeed as a woman filmmaker in Iran, and to produce a film dealing with what must be a suppressed subject there. Mainline (several Iranians in the audience insisted that the Persian title is much more effective) is definitely worth seeing if only for an insider's gaze at modern Iran, but expect to be uncomfortable.
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