- 1h 39min
12-year-old Ali and his three friends, together they work hard to survive and support their families. In a turn of events that seems miraculous, Ali is entrusted to find hidden treasure unde... Read all12-year-old Ali and his three friends, together they work hard to survive and support their families. In a turn of events that seems miraculous, Ali is entrusted to find hidden treasure underground.12-year-old Ali and his three friends, together they work hard to survive and support their families. In a turn of events that seems miraculous, Ali is entrusted to find hidden treasure underground.
For director Majid Majidi, he has already shown a lot of promise with his back catalogue. As for this latest project, this one uses Iran's tough child labour as a backdrop to a moving drama.
The start sucks you into the story quite well and gives us many memorable character introductions and while the locations is within a third world environment, the brilliant cinematography gives it enough beauty to help enhance the visual story-telling side of the feature.
I was noticing a lot more emotional depth in every aspect as the film went on. The supporting cast are given a lot of nice development that help us discover some other topics the film is trying to cover. The story also covers education as well as Iran and Afghanistan relations, which I felt was executed rather well.
In the final act, we see the film pretty much turn into a tragedy and while the climax did make me feel very sad, it also felt very satisfying. It showed the films message come to an emotional high and it was a clever way of portraying the exploitative nature of child labour within Iran.
It's amazing to think most of the cast were recruited from the streets of Iran. There is so much talent to witness on screen throughout its duration. Rouhollah Zamani shows wonderful emotion as the leading character and authentic childlike sympathy that makes him instantly engaging. I hope this isn't just a one-off feature for him. I also have to give props for the other notable child actors Mani Ghafouri, Seyed Mohammad Mehdi Mousavi Fard, Abolfazi Shirzad and Sharmila Shirzad who showed wonderful maturity in her character.
What I liked about it the most is the many ways you can interpret this story. A long with the aforementioned themes, the way it is shot and edited also makes it feel like a heist or prison-break film. All of this I feel gives it strong rewatchability and make it appealing to a much larger then I would have expected.
I cannot quite get the film to a level of calling it a great film. I'm not quite sure what it lacked to prevent that. But I can safely say that I really liked the film's energy, charm, sincerity and how watchable it was. It never felt afraid to tackle the issues it was raising and so you could feel the confidence in the film-making.
Don't be afraid to check this one out when it becomes available. You'll be surprised how rewarding it is.
- Nov 11, 2020