Action / Biography / Drama


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January 30, 2015 at 10:01 PM



Shohreh Aghdashloo as Moloojoon
Gael García Bernal as Maziar Bahari
Claire Foy as Paola
720p 1080p
809.00 MB
23.976 fps
1hr 43 min
P/S 6 / 14
1.64 GB
23.976 fps
1hr 43 min
P/S 7 / 8

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by mano2443 10 / 10


John Stewart does an outstanding job skillfully portraying an incredible journey by a western journalist caught in the Iranian post-election revolt. a must-see thriller. The acting is captivating, and the sets are truly realistic as they filmed in the middle east. Definitely a work that will not be forgotten. This movie is particularly relevant with the current prosecution of journalists in Ukraine and the middle east. The audience is thrown into the riot environment with the amazing work of the directors. Jon Stewart does a great job. The actor playing Maziar is truly captivating. It is great to see an original film that captures some of the problems of our generation. Will look forward to Stewart's future works.

Reviewed by David Ferguson ([email protected]) 6 / 10

Free Press

Greetings again from the darkness. A surefire method to get attention for a movie is "the feature film directorial debut of Jon Stewart". The popular comedian/commentator/talk show host makes an exceptional living getting people to laugh and think, so a politically charged story based on real life events should be right in his proverbial wheelhouse. Mix in the fact that Stewart and his show are linked to those events, and now you have some real intrigue.

Maziar Bahari was a Newsweek political correspondent sent to cover the 2009 Presidential election in Iran. His experience led him to write the book "Then They Came For Me: A Family's Story of Love, Captivity and Survival", on which the film is based. Bahari was a young husband who left his pregnant wife at home for what he thought would be an assignment lasting but a few days. Instead, by the time he returned home, he had been held captive in Evin Prison for 118 days – suspected of being a foreign spy, and incessantly interrogated and subjected to psychological and physical torture.

Gael Garcia Bernal plays Bahari with a naive and amiable spirit that contrasts sharply with what we might envision as the traits necessary for success in his line of work. It does work well to allow the viewer a quick connection with the character as we later pull for him during the toughest moments. The film brings light to the importance of a free press, and the dangers inherent otherwise. As the Iranian government accuses Bahari of being a spy, it's easy for us to understand the blurred line between spy and journalist. Those with the most to hide are often the most paranoid.

When Bahari first arrives in Iran, happenstance leads him to cross paths with a taxi driver who enthusiastically introduces him to the "educated" … the "not Ahmadinejad" faction. These are the revolutionaries working to bring enlightenment to the government through their candidate. As you are probably aware, the election instead brought what Bahari's mother (Shohreh Aghdashloo, House of Sand and Fog) calls "the same old sh**". In other words, despite seemingly overwhelming support, their candidate lost in what they can only assume was another fixed election.

Bahari's personal story is the focus of the film much more than an investigative look into Iranian elections. He films the protests of the election aftermath, and the next morning he is awakened to a search of his personal belongings. The accusations begin with such laughers as having his "Sopranos" DVD classified as a pornography collection. Laughs are short-lived though, as Bahari is arrested and swept away to the prison. The torture he faces is nothing like what we witnessed in Zero Dark Thirty, but the psychological warfare waged by his interrogator (Kim Bodnia) is designed to break down Bahari emotionally so that he admits to being a spy (an enemy of the government).

We certainly gain insight into Bahari's personal struggle to maintain his hope and position. Visions of his father and sister appear to him in his cell and provide advice. These apparitions seem more level-headed and passionate than Bahari was even before his arrest. And therein lies the biggest issue with the movie. We know how the story ends, so the suspense is non-existent. Instead, we are somehow to relate to the daily misery endured by Bahari, but that just isn't captured in a two hour movie. The closest we get is a remarkable sequence where Mr Bernal (as Bahari) moves to the music (in his head) of Leonard Cohen's "Dance Me to the End of Love". This is a man clinging to hope for his future with memories from the past. It's a very touching moment.

The need for a free press is obvious from this story, but it's unclear whether another point made in the movie was intentional. Bahari has his camera holstered during the violent election aftermath until he is disparaged by one of the rebels … something along the lines of "you have a weapon and choose not to use it". This moment raises the question of whether these political correspondents are so concerned about personal danger that they let that affect the stories they tell and the pictures we see. This may be the most powerful question raised by the film, and one not easy to answer.

Lastly, it does seem at times that the movie plays as Jon Stewart's tribute to Maziar Bahari, which makes us wonder whether Stewart's burden of guilt from his (unintended) role in Bahari's capture was the driving force behind the making of the film. It comes across a bit light on issues and heavy on hero-worship (apology). Still, mixing in actual news footage and the role of social media, keeps us from forgetting that this is a real man plunged into a dangerous situation simply because he was trying to show and tell the truth.

Reviewed by jadepietro 8 / 10

Sweet Smell of Success

This film is recommended.

Comedian and television host Jon Stewart took a leave of absence from his television work to make this powerful political drama, Rosewater, a film that became a small part of his life after filming a faux-news segment on his Daily Show gig. That interview became evidence to try and convict that guest, Maziar Bahari, an Iranian-born journalist. (In 2009, Bahari was arrested in Iran while covering a story for Newsweek and falsely accused of being a spy.) Stewart took a personal interest in his story due to his subsequent involvement with this reporter.

Like the prisoners in Kiss of the Spider Woman, Bahari retreats into a fantasy world in order to keep his sanity over the many long months during this ordeal. His scenes in solitary confinement serve in sharp contrast with memories of his past life, as one is immediately drawn into his plight. Rosewater vividly chronicles this injustice as it focuses on his imprisonment and torture.

Bahari (Gael García Bernal) is arrested soon after the movie opens, while his mother, Moloojoon (Shohreh Aghdashloo), helplessly looks on. The film takes its time with its exposition of the political ramifications of an election and the country's divide among its party leaders and supporters. The protests lead to the harrowing sequences of brutal interrogation between Bahari and his captor, Javadi (Kim Bodnia) that are the majority of the film's content. (Bahari spends most of these scenes blindfolded and his only connection with his interrogator is the heavy scent of rosewater wore by his adversary, hence the title.)

First time writer / director Stewart skillfully builds the tension and frustration faced by this prisoner and wisely allows the two actors to play off each other in subtle and overt ways. Sometimes the atmospheric photography is self-conscious, with too much hand-held camera-work overused in order to try to capture the frenzied state of revolution; other times, he keeps a keen visual eye as the events unfold, as when walking the streets of Iran and flooding its windows with surreal images of Bahari's family amid the social unrest.

Bernal is very effective as Bahari. One can sense the fear and inner strength within this character by the physical choices that the actor makes, from his trembling voice to his stoic posturing. The role might be written as too saintly and heroic, but Bernal downplays that aspect beautifully. Especially touching is Bernal's inspired dance against oppression set to a Leonard Cohen song. His is a strong and memorable portrayal of a man who has lost freedom but not his sense of hope. The same can be adversely said of the thankless role of the evil interrogator. As his opponent, Bodnia is a commanding force, both as actor and written character. The film succeed primarily due to their spirited performances.

The political debating between the two men plays out like a point/ counterpoint segment as each tries to gain the psychological advantage of the other. Although the moviegoer may already know the outcome of the film, the escalating dangers between captor and captive make for predictable but still riveting viewing.

The film does become slightly preachy and self-righteous as its point-of-view is strictly on the side of its protagonist. But the impact of an innocent man wronged by a tyrannical regime resonates with understated power. Rosewater is an important film that documents the perils of journalism in a crazed world where politics and religion frequently undermine rational thinking, all at the cost of one's man's precious freedom. GRADE: B

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