Friday, November 28, 2014

Jason watches ROSEWATER

It's pretty hard to make a compelling story where the hero is trapped in a cell the whole time. I don't know why you would compound that by making the title a reference to an odor. Since Odorama never really took off, scent is one thing movies don't do well. So I have to give Jon Stewart an A+ for difficulty, and a gentlemen's B for execution. He relies heavily on a number of cliches, especially the prisoner talking to hallucinations of his father and sister. And emphasizing the hashtags in the green revolution protests is a little too slick (although it's interesting to think about this as the first historical event where I can say, "I remember when that was a trending topic!") But then there are moments that are beautiful. Like early on when Maziar Bahari (Gael Garcia Bernal) is walking along shop windows and seeing movies or people he remembers and loves from his youth. Or my favorite moment, when a guard slips up and reveals that his imprisonment is a global cause. That explosion of joy (yes, complete with hashtags) is the turning point of the movie. Jon Stewart clearly made this out of a sense of guilt over The Daily Show's role in Bahari's imprisonment (which is pretty silly) but he wisely de-emphasizes this without ignoring it entirely. In fact, Jon Stewart never appears on screen (which probably would've been annoying,) only Jason Jones, recreating the original field piece.

Ultimately, the earnestness of the movie is appropriate given the subject matter, but I don't know many people who would argue against the thesis that imprisoning journalists is wrong. Still, this movie makes it a compelling story, and reminds us that there are actually enough people who disagree with the thesis that it's still an important story to tell.

Running Time: 103 minutes
My Total Minutes: 374,555

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