April 22, 2015 Leave a comment
Generally, this film capably sells itself as a foreign film, the setting believable as Iran, and the dialogue entirely in Persian (as imdb credits it, though I would have said Farsi). Yet with the content of the film, I could never imagine this product actually being produced in Iran, so it made sense to discover that it is in fact an American film, directed and written by an Iranian-American, and starring one. Being able to be both an Iranian film and not gives it the best of both worlds.
A decidedly slow-burning film, it focuses on a fairly small community who are all a bit on the outskirts of society. A drug-dealing pimp, a prostitute, a drug addict and his son, all exist in a morally challenging place. Enter into the picture a mysterious girl (Sheila Vand), who early on we discover is a vampire. In this role it reminds me a lot of Let The Right One In, less in showing the burden/tragedy of the affliction than in showing the type of cyclical bonds a person of this sort can manage. On the other hand, the actual horror is used more in line with a film like Teeth. The violence has a feminist symbolism in retribution for sexual violation.
The real standout here is the cinematography, in brilliant black and white. In this respect it almost shades toward Sin City and that graphic novel aesthetic, though retaining a sense of photorealism. The visual tone of the film, combined with score/soundtrack, really set a somber but engaging mood, covering over what is in reality a pretty thin story. Not a complete stunner but certainly a work with a lot to offer and showing great promise for its director.