Rosewater ReviewIt is not very often a mainstream movie is made about Iran. It is country that is hard to get permits in and is often shrouded in secrecy. Despite several smaller movies made about people in the country, Hollywood hasn't really come calling. This is what makes "Rosewater" unique. Instead of it being just a film about the how Iran handles things within its borders, it is a film that is a man's journey in spite of being told there was no hope that there was hope.
"Rosewater" tells the story of a Iranian/Canadian journalist, Maziar Bahari (Gael García Bernal) who decided to be a part of a humorous bit on the faux news tv show "The Daily Show". He would be answering questions about Iran and try to demystify the country to the US audience. Unfortunately, after the piece aired he was detained by the Iranian government because they felt he was giving away state secrets. Despite attempting to explain that tv show he was on was a satire, they kept him locked up. They used a variety of methods of torture to get him to confess that he was a spy for the US. Bahari is eventually let go and is reunited with his family and has appeared not only on "The Daily Show" but wrote about the 118 day ordeal in prison.
First time director Jon Stewart demonstrates that he not only has a sense of comic timing but understanding of how to bring a story to life. Stewart draws you into Bahari's story and not only allows the viewer to feel for what happened to him but also the absurdity of the situation. The story based on the novel by the real Bahari is not only a tale that pulls back the curtain on how Iran handles people who they suspect are spies, but it is a story of hope. It balances very dark moments with some very humorous ones. The feel of the film is also very polished as well. Stewart chose a very good support team to make his feature film debut and even called on J.J. Abrams for advice. Gael García Bernal best known in North America for his role in "Motorcycle Diaries" turns in a memorable performance as Bahari. He makes the viewer empathize with not only with what he is going through but also gives a feel for how the jailed journalist thinks.
Even though the subject matter is not a very happy one, "Rosewater" is a film that has many things going for it. It is adequately directed for a first time director and has the feel to it. Bernal as a lead is worth seeing this film for alone but when you add the story to this, "Rosewater" should be on many must see lists.
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