24 April 2020 | maramezani
Bland, drab, lifeless
Gholamreza Takhti, the person, is one of the most prominent characters of his time. Whether or not you agree with his worldview or his opinions, you cannot deny how he influenced the Iranian culture of his time. Still considered the symbol of chivalry and sportsmanship for many, this real-life manifestation of Rocky remains one of the most celebrated athletes in Iran's history.
But let me be clear: You cannot abuse his renown to shield a bad movie from criticism. A bad movie about a great person is a terrible movie, and probably a worse insult than if it was about a normal person. You're doing a disservice to people that admire him and choose him as their role model.
So, where should I start? Any person that could see through the pretentious veil of unnecessary "artistry" should see that black and white shots and empty vain dramatic poses of a troubled character, hopping monotonously from one location to another, does not a great movie make. Seriously, were you aspiring to be the next Elephant Man? The next Schindler's List? Those movies work because they have something else to offer than music and narration.
And I hit the nail on the head now, didn't I? There is a recent wave of wannabe artistic movies in Iranian cinema which fail to be much more than narration. I cannot tell if it's a reaction to overly sensitive grading authorities, but what it results in is inoffensive, incredibly boring, documentary-like "movies" that tell you all the interesting stuff and show meager scenes and dialog like extra hot spice on ice cream. It's a nice cop-out to spending movie budget as well, so why not? It's not like we actually care about the audience, they can take whatever we throw at them.
That pretty much sums it up. Someone should carve with hot iron, on the walls of production studios, big "SHOW, DON'T TELL" signs. That should be a good guideline. If I turn off the sound, what remains should be more than the supposed Takhti actor staring expressionless at the ground or at the ceiling throughout the entire movie as if that's going to add weight to his character, while the narration completely dismisses entire championships with "oh, he came on second, by the way". (That's true, by the way, there are not even seconds of screen time for any of the major plot points in the second half of the movie)
Did I mention the narration is no Morgan Freeman? Oh well, I guess I talked about this movie more than it deserved. I just hope this so-called cinema industry stops setting the alarm to snooze, and starts making movies that have something to say.