It's interesting to see a troubled man drum up sympathetic support using public media, but it's even more baffling to see how poorly most characters are written in Amazon Studios' Iranian drama "A Hero."
Director Asghar Farhadi (2011's "A Separation") returns to film another film that focuses on a plot that takes a moral question and spins it into the complicated web it weaves.
In the story, Rahim (Amir Jadidi) is in prison because of a debt he was unable to repay. Though he's locked down by debt, he can't wait to see his girlfriend Farkhondeh (Sahar Goldust), his sister and his young son who has a stutter. During a two-day parole, his girlfriend finds a purse filled with gold coins. When the couple visits a gold shop, they discover it's not enough to pay back his creditor Bahram (Mohsen Tanabandeh). But instead of returning it to law enforcement like any outstanding citizen, Rahim plots to put up fliers and win support of his town the publicize an image of a prisoner turned good. Of course, things happen differently for Rahim and his loved ones.
A Hero - Official Trailer | Prime Video www.youtube.com
For a critic who vaguely knows about Farhadi's previous hits, "A Hero" didn't live up to expectations in its writing. All characters involved in Rahim's charade, whether honestly or not, are either extremely gullible or severely suspicious. At one point, a city employee is doing a thorough background check on Rahim for a job he was promised for his good deeds. The city official pushes hard to prove Rahim wrong with very little explanation. It's like Farhadi thought of what was going to happen but not the how, and most of the movie encapsulates this exact sentiment.
It's surprising how much social media plays an influential part in Rahim's story, but it makes the message clear and straightforward. Don't believe everything the media feeds you, and lying can only get "heroes" so far in the public eye.
The saving grace for this movie is Jadidi. He's a phenomenal physical actor; he knows how to look sad, pensive, stressed and happy. And his mannerisms make his character's emotions shine through in a way that's easy for the viewer to sympathize with.
The story meanders in the middle of the film, but at least Jadidi's acting is something to behold.