Iran/France, 2016, 125 min, 2K DCP, Dir. Asghar Farhadi, Rated PG-13, Cohen Media Group, Persian with English Subtitles
"The new movie from the masterly director of A Separation is another finely cut gem of neorealist suspense." – Owen Gleiberman, Variety
Their Tehran apartment block on the brink of collapse, a couple is obliged to move into a shabby nearby flat. Soon an unfriendly visitor comes calling and there is an eruption of violence. Before we can get our bearings, this work of slow-burning suspense has us unnerved and unable to look away. We are locked in a realm of simmering domestic tension elegantly rendered by Iran's modern master Asghar Farhadi. Feeling vengeful and confused, the husband plays detective, while the rattled wife gives him mysteriously mixed signals. Meanwhile, the two are performing as Willy and Linda Loman in an amateur production of Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman, and their onstage roles begin to resonate with their fractured lives in beguiling ways. Farhadi rose to international prominence after A Separation won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film - the first Iranian film to do so. With his nomination for The Salesman, Farhadi is poised to win a second Oscar in the same category. At Cannes, The Salesman received prizes for Best Actor and Best Screenplay, and it is not for nothing that the film received these honors. Farhadi's special gift for drawing incrementally shaded performances from his actors is a key element of his directorial signature. Much of his singular talent can be found in the structuring of his scripts, which draw us in, turn the screws, and leave us breathless.