A Hero delivers a nuanced examination of justice—and the many shades of injustice that surround it.
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It’s a superb morality play that immerses us deeply in a society’s values and rituals and keeps us guessing right to its powerful final shot.
The film misses the core emotional charge of “A Separation” despite a similar eagerness to wade into the weeds of Iranian civil law, but what it lacks in brute force sentiment it makes up for in the Socratic purity of its structure and the childlike simplicity of its central question: What’s the difference between doing a good deed and not doing a bad one?
The film’s simple, lower-class setting is met with equally direct camerawork, lighting and editing. This feels like the farthest Farhadi has come from his stage work and the sometimes unconvincing dramatic elements that occasionally creep into his films.
Shot with precision, written with elegance and unfolding at a thriller-like pace, A Hero should perform very well around the world after this bow.
Nobody is quite perfect here, nobody fully the villain; and as our suspicions wax and wane about Rahim himself, we, the audience, become the emotional repositories of these constantly shifting grey areas.
A Hero, for all that’s good in it, is a Farhadi movie that speaks to our heads (and sometimes has us scratching them) more than it does our hearts.
The film is a demonstrative examination of the way our raising of heroes onto social media pedestals diminishes the messy, sometimes impenetrable truth of human lives.
A Hero is an engaging and even intriguing film, but I wonder if its realist mannerisms are concealing a slightly unfocused story.
The action always feels rooted in the greater story of the city of Shiraz itself: even a scene as simple as Rahim walking through a shopping centre becomes naturally soundtracked by a musical instrument salesman tuning a dulcimer in his booth.