They say most criminals are not very smart, and while the protagonist in the Iranian drama A hero may not be your typical criminal – he’s in jail for being unable to pay a debt – he spends two hours doing stupid things to accidentally destroy the lives of others. A little drama that examines the profound effect of small decisions A hero is a captivating, if overly lengthy, awards contender who largely delivers, even if you want to slap the guy in the face more times than not.
Amir Jadidi plays Rahim, who admittedly has a very beautiful, but powerful face. He does a great job of playing a guy who clearly means well but can’t take a break, and who is so tired of his life experiences that he knows he sucks as a person for the most part. There is a deep sadness that Jadidi carries, poorly masked behind empty eyes and a friendly, if confused, smile.
What is most convincing about A hero is the movie’s determination to focus on the smallest things and see how different characters react. Rahim may make bad decisions, but largely means well – yet what he does affects others and, more importantly, different people react differently, creating a snowball effect that Rahim can quickly not control. However, director Asghar Farhadi is an expert at delving into the complexities of normal life A hero may feel more strange in some ways than its award-winning one A seperation as the concept of the debt prison is no longer commonplace these days.
The only big problem with A hero is it long; it’s a little over two hours long, but the restrained story runs out of heroics after a while. A leaner script could have conveyed the same dynamic in less time, sharpening the impact of Rahim’s actions and ultimately the power of her closing moments. All in all, Farhadi has developed a well-done exploration of good intentions that have gone wrong and are dampened by excessively long runtime.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise stated.