19 February 2016.
HAIL CAESAR! **1/2
Oh dear, I was so looking forward to another great Coen brothers film after seeing the hilarious trailer. But unfortunately it was not to be. Like Woody Allen, the super-talented brothers can’t win ’em all… and this has none of the coherence or brilliance of O’ Brother, Where Art Thou?, Fargo or The Big Lebowski. Pity…
This loony homage to the Hollywood studios and actors of the mythical 50s is a muddled, badly edited yarn which has a few super moments – Josh Brolin’s portrayal of a studio boss, the crazy Communist gang, and Channing Tatum’s great dance number. Despite stars such as George Clooney, Scarlett Johansson or the eccentric Tilda Swinton, the whole thing leaves you somewhat hungry…
NAHID *** (vo Farsi)
Nahid, a young woman living in the Caspian Sea area of Iran, is trying to survive the pull of three males in her life: her alcoholic ex-husband, her adolescent son and an attractive new suitor who would like to take care of her. This could be about any woman anywhere in the world, torn between love and responsibilities, floundering between a difficult past and a possible future, with or without her son.
Or the film could be taken as a critique of the cultural and religious boundaries that are tying her down in a country too rooted in an archaic past. Or perhaps it’s meant to depict a weak woman who has no control over her son and cannot decide what is best for her own life.
These varying interpretations and possibilities make this an intriguing film by the young Ida Panahandeh, who picked up a prize for it in the Certain Regard section of Cannes 2015. The naturalistic acting of the lovely Sarah Bayat, Peyman Bazeghi and cast adds to the power of the film.
Superb **** Very Good *** Good ** Mediocre * Miserable – no stars
Neptune Ravar Ingwersen reviews film extensively for publications in Switzerland. She views 4 to 8 films a week and her aim is to sort the wheat from the chaff for readers.