Though it is dense in allusion and rich in texture, there are choices he makes that ultimately pull The Salesman back from the greatness, and the engulfing universality of his best work. It is as compelling as anything Farhadi has ever made, but it’s also somehow smaller.
Farhadi remains a master of pace and tension, slowly upping the stakes in an unsettling narrative fuelled by a lingering sense of powerlessness, paranoia and the possibility that you never entirely know the person you love.
This is a rich and complex take on guilt and anger.
Though a vengeance riff, it remains a Farhadi film all through, so dancing around each other means a lot of talking about action instead of doing action. And that’s fine – the former playwright is uncommonly gifted in writing third acts, where each line of dialogue and simple gesture are imbued with meaning.
Giovanni Marchini CamiaThe Film Stage
Uncharacteristically inert, the film plods its way to a strained finale that erodes much of the strength of its potentially compelling themes.