Gholam (2017) Poster

(2017)

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9/10
Existential thriller set in the Iranian community in London
andy-lambert11 June 2017
This is the first feature-film by the acclaimed photographer Mitra Tabrizian. Set in the unfamiliar world of the Iranian community in London, it's a tense, slow-burn thriller featuring Cannes-award-winning actor Shahab Hosseini ('The Salesman', 'A Separation') as an ex-soldier sought out by two secretive Persians for a clandestine mission.

Hosseini's character, Gholam, works at night as a cab driver and, without wishing to give too much away, the film shares a further intriguing connection with Scorsese's 'Taxi Driver' in the way that Gholam becomes more interested in getting involved in a complete stranger's plight, rather than taking up the cause of his fellow countrymen. In this way, the film deals with existential issues around what's worth living for, dying for and killing for, making it reach out to viewers way beyond its Iranian context.

The mood of It brings to mind the cool, detached style of the films of Jean-Pierre Melville, such as 'Le Samurai'. Hosseini is a mesmerizing presence as always – he's one of those actors who can convey so much with just a look. It's beautifully photographed and it slowly grips you in a web of despair and atonement. It's an assured debut from Tabrizian who joins the growing ranks of artists making the move into cinema. It'll be fascinating to see where she goes from here.
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10/10
You can't Escape your Past - Amazing Thriller
nimab118811 June 2018
This Film surprised me in more ways than one. I was shocked to hear this was the Directors first film because it was so well made, and unlike anything I had ever seen. This movie made me think! Although it seems to be following a Iranian in present day. I was able to feel this charecters pains, sufferage, courage and honor all through watching him go through his daily life in present time. The decisions he would make the places he would go we're all a direct reflection of what he had gone through and where he had been as opposed to where he was trying to go.. The End of the Film was so thrilling and exciting it really makes you think! 10/10 for me! Amazing Cinematogrophy and incredible Acting Hope to see more films from this new Director
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7/10
Thought-provoking look at London's Iranian diaspora
rosienock11 June 2017
A thought-provoking look at the Iranian diaspora, shedding light on some interesting cultural issues that are often overlooked and offering a rarely seen glimpse of the gritty, run down side of London.

The film starts slowly but is thoughtfully paced and builds nicely to a surprising conclusion. Shahab Hosseini's excellent performance brings out the nuances of a subtle yet powerful script. Refreshing not to be spoon-fed a narrative.

The director's artistic credentials translate well to the screen with the film visually arresting throughout.
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8/10
Gholam as Enigma
parveengadams1 December 2018
Superbly acted by a leading Iranian actor and skilfully directed by Mitra Tabrizian this is a film to be enjoyed on several levels - most obviously as thriller. But more powerfully as a portrayal of a man who retains his integrity through refusing to engage with others. This is a tricky task and the award winning Hosseini plays it to perfection. He uses a minimum of words but his demeanour conveys all.

My appreciation of the film deepens as I think about what kind of man Gholam is. For undoubtedly he is the very centre of the film. It is not that he shows us how to make or refuse choices. Rather, the enigmatic figure of Gholam opens onto questions of choice and freedom.

Both the director and the actor are to be congratulated. Together they have produced a central character like no other.
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10/10
Must watch
willsorrell3 December 2018
Beautifully shot and atmospheric, the film portrays migrant life in London in a highly authentic way. Gholam is the story about a minicab driver living in London. As the story unfolds the drama is ramped up, and it becomes clear that there is much more to Gholam than meets the eye. Brimming with humanity, this film explores themes such as identity, morality, taking responsibility, and how you can't run from your past.
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10/10
Mesmerizing
gildawilliams3 December 2018
A rare film showing the migrant underside of London. Understated, beautifully shot, and extremely original. Shahab Hosseini is mesmerizing.
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5/10
Minimalist and miserable
MOscarbradley15 May 2018
"Gholam" makes Scorsese's "Taxi Driver" feel like all the 'Die Hard' films rolled into one. This minimalist, miserable British picture, the first feature for its director, is about an Iranian cab driver in London trying to forget his revolutionary past. However, unlike Travis Bickle, Gholam wants to avoid trouble but it comes looking for him nevertheless. A 'thriller' in only the most tenuous sense of the word, it is rather a character study given considerable clout by Shahab Hosseini's performance in the title role. Hosseini is virtually never off the screen and his charismatic presence lifts what is basically a cliche-ridden tale. It also might have helped if we could have read the subtitles which are small, white and often printed on white backgrounds. Whatever else "Gholam" is, it's an appalling job of sub-titling.
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7/10
a dark look into the life of an Iranian immigrant living in London
MitchellCombden16 November 2017
Warning: Spoilers
I had the pleasure of attending a screening of Gholam at the Diaspora film festival in Toronto as a volunteer. walking into the theatre I had no idea what the film was about and I'd also never seen an Iranian film before. I'm pleased to say that Gholam was a very good film.

firstly the cinematography, lighting, etc. was all very slick and looked quite nice. visually, Gholam was in no way a let down. the entire cast gives us good performances here as well.

The film tells the story of Gholam, an Iranian immigrant who lives in London. he works at an old car garage and as a taxi driver. His mother constantly calls him from Iran in an attempt to convince him to come back home. he's also approached by some mysterious men supposedly from his past involvement in the military. the biggest issue for Gholam is his inner struggle. will he decide to go back to his homeland or will he continue his difficult life in London, just scraping by with his low paying jobs. another notable element of the film is Gholam's involvement in the life of this older woman. much like in the American classic "Taxi Driver", Gholam is more interested in this old woman's plight (whom he meets in his Taxi) than his own. the film moves at a very slow pace. there are many points in which we linger on simple actions such as, drinking milk, sleeping, sitting down at a table, etc. I would imagine the filmmaker's intention here would have been to put you in the shoes of Gholam and really make you feel how powerless and useless he feels. while it certainly does work, it drags on far too long sometimes and makes the experience quite a bore. it is a film after all, and entertainment is nice sometimes. through this boredom and helplessness though we eventually reach a point of frustration. at this point in the film Gholam begins to try and do something. although he deems himself incapable of returning to his homeland he feels a desire to fight. to fight for what's right. I will not spoil how this is achieved, but it is very powerful. the ending is quite abrupt, and dark. it's a very shocking look into how this inner struggle for this particular Immigrant can lead to a very unnecessary, sobering and seriously tragic end.

I do believe the Gholam character could have used some more actual development. it would have been nice to see him open up, even if it were just in a single scene. perhaps an emotional confrontation with someone would have been nice. unfortunately he just mopes around for almost 2 hours.

overall the film does drag in some parts, but the production value is excellent, the acting is excellent and the character of Gholam along with his arc is very sobering and powerfully tragic.

7.5/10
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1/10
Slow, depressing and confusing.
jeffh-9184026 May 2017
Just saw the film at the Seattle International Film Festival and it was a huge disappointment,to say the least. It was slow, plodding, depressing, confusing and then it was over. Would not recommend it. The cinematography was excellent and the reality of how the people lived inside their poor homes and apartments was interesting. You really felt the loneliness of their lives.
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