BEING THE FATHER OF THE BABY was the only thing I knew about him, besides living with the baby’s mother. I knew nothing else like his job, his age or where he came from. I had seen photos of the baby and she was adorable, always with a great big smile on her face; who she looked like I could not say. There was going to be a large social event where we were both going to attend. The baby’s mother was excited to introduce the baby’s daddy to me, talking about him more than usual up until the time of the party. I got the sense she was proud of him and wanted to show him off to me; I was cool with it. When it was time to attend the party, I decided to wear my suit since the event was being held at a hotel’s ballroom. It was easy to get to the place and I was able to find parking in front, which I preferred instead of going into the parking garage. When I entered the ballroom, I was met with the sounds of a DJ spinning his music from atop a stage set up behind a huge dance floor. I made my way through groups of people until I found a familiar face. It was someone I had known for many years. We made some small talk, commenting on the decorations that were placed about the room. IT WAS JUST BEFORE THE WAITSTAFF came out with dinner’s first course, when I felt a tap on the back of my shoulder. I turned around to see the baby’s mother and I assumed father standing side by side behind me. I said hello to her and commented on how tall she appeared. She chuckled and had to show me the high heeled shoes she was wearing. I laughed then directed my attention to the man standing next to her who had been quiet this whole time. Extending my hand, I introduced myself. He took a hold of my hand and gave it a vigorous shake. The three of us fell into easy bantering, though I noticed the baby’s daddy was focusing all his attention towards me. At some point he insisted he buy me a drink at one of the bars that was set up in the ballroom. My gut was telling me to be cautious; I could not explain why I was starting to feel this way, but there was something about him that put me on edge. I knew the baby’s mother would ask me what I thought of him, but I decided that when the time came, I would try to focus on positive statements. However, time would show me that my gut feeling was right. I have been learning to pay attention to my gut feeling, which I believe one of the main characters in this action mystery was doing as well. THERE WAS SOMETHING ABOUT RACHEL, PLAYED by Diane Kruger (In the Fade, Unknown), that made Mossad agent Thomas, played by Martin Freeman (The Hobbitt franchise, Black Panther), believe she would be the right fit for what the agency needed. But when Rachel delves deeper into her assignment, Martin begins to wonder if he had made the right choice. With Cas Anvar (Room, The Expanse-TV) as Farhad, Rotem Keinan (A Tale of Love and Darkness, The Exchange) as Daniel and Lana Ettinger (Live and Become, The Road to Where) as Operative #2; this drama started with a slow pace before the action was introduced. I thought the story was interesting, especially basing it in Tehran. The issue I had though was with the script; there was very little variance in the level of drama and excitement. I found this film turned into a generic, mediocre production. Diane really did a good job of acting as did Martin; but the rest of the cast was not memorable. When the beginning started out slow, I should have listened to my gut; but since there was nothing else to watch at the time, I took a chance. Several scenes with German, Persian, Hebrew, French and Kurdish spoken with English subtitles.
1 ¾ stars
This gentle movie reminded me of a story my yoga instructor told us in class. A group of monkeys were circling several coconut trees. Each of them were gathering fallen coconuts except for one.This particular monkey saw a huge coconut lodged inside the hollow of a tree. Sticking its hand inside, the monkey was able to get a grip on it and tried pulling it out; but the hole was smaller than the coconut. The monkey kept trying, turning the coconut one way then the other; but nothing worked. In the meantime each of the other monkeys was acquiring a small stockpile that would easily last them several days. When all the coconuts were gathered up the one monkey with its hand inside the tree had nothing to show for it. The teacher asked us if we knew the moral of the story; none of us had a reply. He looked at each of us before he said, “Just let go.” All of us sat quietly as we let those words soak in before we attempted our next posture. I am sure each of us in class interpreted the moral differently and I feel the same could be said after viewing this film festival winning movie. Mohammad Amir Naji aka Rela Naji (Children of Heaven, Baran) played Karim, a ranch hand on an ostrich farm. When his oldest daughter Haniyeh’s, played by newcomer Shabnam Aklaghi, hearing aid broke just before an important test in school, Karim had no other option but to make the motorbike trip from his small rural village to Tehran, to get the hearing aid fixed. Upon reaching that bustling metropolis, Karim discovered opportunities that could change his and his family’s way of living; but at what cost? I was fascinated by the simpleness of this film, partly due to the scenes of Karim and his family. There was a charming intimacy created by the story as if I was an undetected observer, seeing a whole different way of life and culture. The pacing was kept slow with minimal dialog, which made the story more real for me. I did not see this so much as a movie but as a fable. For being such a plain and uncomplicated film; it spoke loudly about dreams, fortune and greed. Persian and Azerbaijani with English subtitles.
3 1/4 stars — DVD