I went into this movie expecting to like it and I did. But after seeing it I had a hard time explaining why it was good. So here is what I am going to do. I am going to tell you what this movie is not and then I will tell you why it is worth your time. Here we go.
This movie is not a brilliant story. Most people who are aware of this movie should know the basics of what happened. John Stewart did his best to keep the story in the news and in the social media-verse. But just because this is one of the better known stories does not mean it is unique and while there are some witty lines and poignant moments they were the creation of the story’s protagonist and not the creative team behind the script (to my best knowledge). This story is merely a, seemingly, accurate retelling of a real event.
The filmography was not unique. There weren’t any fancy effects. A decent chunk of the film was of real video or restaged interviews that needed to mimic the source material.
The acting was nothing grand. No performances scorched my soul or pulled on my eyes to the extent of giving me tunnel vision.
No special editing calls were made. There was a tiny bit of time jumping in the beginning but nothing special. Many people could have made the same calls.
All of this being said, not many people could have made the same movie. The singular beauty of this film was the purity of the story. This story was uncorrupted because of the humility and reverence with which every member of the team approached the project with.
I was struggling to figure out why a movie that didn’t overpower me in any way managed to be so worth my time. It was this purity that made the movie so easy to watch and the humility that let the importance come through so clearly.
The story does not overstate. Maziar is not made into a hero. Instead, he is shown as a human surviving inhuman treatment with dignity. He is made out to be an intelligent voice for what is right, not an unbelievable martyr.
The acting wasn’t that of an actor playing a role but of men and women telling an important story. Every character is perfectly represented. They are all necessary because the truth of the story is what is meant to be represented.
The movie was done to almost feel like a documentary without the cut-aways. No tricks or trumped-up effects were necessary for telling the story and it resulted in a tight flow of scenes that I appreciated.
In the end, this movie had no elements that were astounding or special, nothing worth raving about in theatrical or cinematographic terms. And that is why it works. A tight, simple movie powered by the belief of the cast and crew is what you get.
Verdict: This movie is worth seeing. It will probably be as good on your computer as it is in the theaters but it is a production worth experiencing. It’s R rating is barely earned and not even compared with other PG-13 movies I’ve seen recently. Reward the team’s humility and dedication. See it.