A Hero

A Hero

2021, PG-13, 2021 min. Directed by Asghar Farhadi. Starring Amir Jadidi, Sahar Goldust, Mohsen Tanabandeh.

REVIEWED By Jenny Nulf, Fri., Jan. 21, 2022

Asghar Farhadi, director of the Oscar-winning A Separation, is a conductor of intensity, giving unassuming situations heightened stakes that feel tremendous. The Iranian filmmaker’s latest feature, A Hero, is a bubbling thriller about one man’s two-day leave from jail and how one innocence-driven good deed tangles itself in a mess that jeopardizes his chances of getting out of jail permanently.

The simple man is Rahim (Jadidi), a grinning young man whose hopes of settling his debt with his creditor are naive at best. These hopes are set high because his fiancée, Farkhondeh (Goldust), has found a bag filled with gold worth enough to pave the way to releasing him from his debt, but a number of signs at the gold buyer leave Rahim hesitant. He decides to turn the treasure in to the police, and a laundry list of myopic mistakes tumbles into a wave of skepticism from those who find themselves involved in Rahim’s “good deed.”

Farhadi’s A Hero dabbles in the nuance of a good deed, a fly on the wall directing his own characters, giving just enough space to doubt or trust his protagonist and those with and against him. Farhadi focuses his lens on average people who are forced into tough situations, which is what makes his films so captivating. The simple mistake of giving the police the prison’s number to call him stirs up suspicion – did Rahim return the gold from the goodness of his heart, or was it something more calculated?

“If I was smart, why would I be in jail?” Rahim pleads at one point, when everything feels so congested with conflicting information that people once on his side are now shying away from believing his truth. Farhadi doesn’t write clear-cut good and bad people; A Hero is filled with shades of gray that are enlightening about natural human doubtfulness and equally natural human mistakes. Rahim’s creditor (Tanabandeh) isn’t some tough, bloodthirsty loan shark: He’s just filled with so much distrust and pain that he’s unwilling to give Rahim a chance.

A Hero is like watching a high-stakes game of telephone, where information spreads fast, truth is lost, and fabrications create disastrous consequences. Farhadi takes a seemingly simple idea and threads holes and complications into it, creating a pressure cooker of intensity based on a handful of white lies and distrust. It’s a tragedy of simple misunderstandings, and misgivings. There are many directors who live for the drama, but none can write it quite as effortlessly as Farhadi.

Available on Amazon Prime from Jan. 21.

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A Hero, Asghar Farhadi, Amir Jadidi, Sahar Goldust, Mohsen Tanabandeh

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