INTENSITY HAS BEEN A PART OF ME as long as when I became aware of my shadow. Many people have described me as being intense; or I should say, those who know me well enough know the amount of intensity I can generate in myself. I have always had a strong single mindedness that is like a starving, aggressive dog who will not let go of a found bone. There was a time where I was acutely aware of people around me feeling the heat coming off me when I am intensely, laser focused on one thing. Now you would think there must not be many things that I find intense, but you would be incorrect to assume such a thing. Driving in a violent storm is something that I find to be an intense situation. With the wind jostling the car and rain pelting the windshield relentlessly; I find myself with my shoulders stiff by my ears and my grip turning into a vise around the steering wheel. I used to react in a similar way when I used to ride roller coasters. Now I avoid most of them because I already deal with enough stress and do not want to willingly put more tension on myself. MORE THAN LIKELY MANY OF YOU have experienced some form of tension in your life. The first thing that comes to mind is a doctor’s office or hospital. I knew a person who would get such a strong reaction every time they went to the dentist that they decided to stop going all together. I am sure this happens more now than it used to, but I quickly become uncomfortable anytime someone is heckling a performer. Sitting in the audience and suddenly some random individual talks back to the artist or yells at them and I immediately tense up. I remember sitting in a smallish type of venue, watching a comedian. At one of their jokes a drunken guy in the audience shouted out a derogatory remark to the performer; I immediately tensed up and started worrying about what would happen next. The reason being, I remembered at a rock concert where someone threw a beer bottle towards the band and they instantly stopped the show and left the stage. I held my breath to see what the comedian would do. He came back with such a classic retort that I still use it to this day; it shut the heckler up. From the experiences I listed I can add something new that made me tense and on the edge of my seat, this film festival winning movie based on a true story. KNOWN FOR ITS ELEGANCE AND ATTENTION to its guests the Taj Hotel was the focal point for a terrorist group’s message to get out to the world. This dramatic thriller starred Dev Patel (Lion, The Man Who Knew Infinity) as Arjun, Armie Hammer (On the Basis of Sex, Sorry to Bother You) as David, Nazanin Boniadi (Ben-Hur, Homeland-TV) as Zahra, Tilda Cobham-Hervey (One Eyed Girl, The Kettering Incident-TV) as Sally and Alex Pinder (Ocean Girl-TV, Angel Baby) as Butler Jamon. I cannot remember the last time I sat through a movie where I was swept up into a tense state by the action on the screen. The actors were well suited for this story and they delivered in my opinion. I am telling you now this was not an easy movie to sit through because there was violence, bloodshed and terrifying scenes. Honestly, I did not care if everything I was watching was true or not; the fact that the script kept me engaged and kept my eyes riveted to the screen made the experience memorable for me. I suggest you prepare yourself before you see this film and remember to take deep breaths.
Except for that one teacher in elementary school, I cannot recall someone telling me I could not join or participate in an activity. Now granted I got the message loud and clear during those times where I was picked last to be on a team, so there were certain sports games I shied away from. I remember my summer camp days provided me a variety of activities to explore. There was an archery class where my first arrow hit the metal baseboard below the target, sending sparks up into the air just like in a cartoon. I had a woodworking class where I made a coat rack out of geometric shapes that I painted in primary colors; it hung on my bedroom wall for several years. Based on my past experiences in school PE classes, I would be the last person to be picked to become an aerobics instructor, yet no one stopped me and I became certified to teach classes. When I decided I wanted to learn yoga, no one told me I was not flexible enough so I could not go. I do not have it in my brain to discourage someone from attempting to fulfill one of their passions. If anyone tells me they wish they could do such and such, I usually ask what is stopping them. When the movie Footloose came out I thought it was a fantasy film because I could not believe there would be a law that banned dancing; I later discovered in some circles it really was not allowed. BORN during the wrong time all Afshin Ghaffarian, played by Reece Ritchie (Hercules, The Lovely Bones), wanted to be was a dancer. Unfortunately dancing was banned in his country; but Afshin was determined to somehow express himself via dance. Based on a true story this drama had all the markings to be a tense exciting experience. The story was set during turbulent times in Iran. There was a ban on dancing, the rebellious dancer wannabe, a love interest, conflicts, punishments; everything was here to create a dynamite story. Sadly this movie was incredibly dull. With Freida Pinto (Trishna, Rise of the Planet of the Apes) as Elaheh, Tom Cullen (Weekend, Downton Abbey-TV) as Ardavan and Nazanin Boniadi (The Next Three Days, Homeland-TV) as Parisa Ghaffarian; I thought the cast could easily handle the scenes and they probably would have if the script had been good. The parts that should have been scary with intensity lacked power, while the intimate portions were simply bland. This biographical film contained two things I enjoy seeing: people dancing and exotic settings. The desert scenery was beautiful as was the dancing, but none of it moved me enough to become fully involved in this true story.
1 3/4 stars