Rosewater: Film Review

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I expected Rosewater to be this powerful emotional true story about the capture and interrogation of Iranian-Canadian journalist Maziar Bahari, but it fell short and lacked both impact and interest. And I don’t know how that’s even possible because the source material is so incredible.

Bahari (played by Gael Garcia Bernal) returns to his native Iran from his new home in London, where his wife is expecting their first child, to cover the 2009 general election. During his time back in the country, he is interviewed for a comedy piece for American satirical program The Daily Show. Iranian authorities see the video and are convinced he is reporting back to the U.S. as a spy.

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This is a good recipe for an amazing piece of filmmaking but The Daily Show host Jon Stewart has managed to make his directorial debut devoid of any major drama and tension. I never feared for Bahari’s life or felt he was going to be harshly tortured. He never seemed to truly break so I felt confident his spirit would carry him through. Obviously, I was baffled about his capture because it makes no sense, but I guess that’s the whole point.

It is very political with a clear message about freedom of the press. The most lingering sentiment for me was actually that Bahari gets a release due to Western pressure whereas plenty other regular Joes wrongly imprisoned remain in there.

Bernal, although Mexican not Iranian, was pretty good. I have no complaints about him at all. I just wanted more – I wanted to connect, to feel worried, scared for his safety, about him returning home to his family but I didn’t get a true sense of that, which is a shame because it is a fantastic story.

Released in selected cinemas on Friday 8th May 

 

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