Home ContentMovie Review: Rosewater

Movie Review: Rosewater

Published : November 08, 2015

Based on the true story of the imprisonment of Iranian-Canadian journalist, Maziar Bahari, in Iran in 2009.

Reviewed by Alfindy Agyputri


Movie Title    :  Rosewater

Directed by    :  Jon Stewart

Produced by  :  Scott Rudin, Jon Stewart, and Gigi Pritzker

Based on       :  Then They Came for Me by Maziar Bahari and Aimee Molloy

Release date  :  February 19, 2015

Running time :  103 minutes

Rosewater is an American documentary drama film based on a true story of Iranian-Canadian journalist named Maziar Bahari who was imprisoned in 2009 by Iran authorities for 118 days. With an accusation of working with America as a spy, Bahari is interrogated brutally by his captor throughout the film. During the interrogation, Bahari has to be blindfolded, so the only distinguishing feature of his interrogator is his smell of rosewater.

The film engages the audience with an intense beginning that starts in the middle – a man is being arrested, who later is revealed as the main character, and when the plot goes back to 11 days earlier before the arrest, the audience will get some ideas of what is actually happening, also make some assumptions on why the main character is suddenly being arrested. Later on, the captor reveals the reason behind Bahari’s imprisonment and interrogation, but it sounds ridiculous even for the main character. The audience will be involved in day by day interrogation the main character going through, along with his ups and downs during his isolation. Along the interrogation, more information is revealed one by one until the audience comes to a conclusion of the true reason behind all this. It involves what the main character witnessed.

Even though the audience somehow is able to predict the ending – either the main character will be punished even worse, or he manages to attain his freedom back, the plot manages to bring the audience up and down with the situation – tensed when the interrogation starts to involve violence, or even laugh with the characters when the main character manages to stir the topic away from the initial subject. The cast play their roles professionally. They are really into the characterizations that make the characters feel alive, real, and believable. The main character manages to get the audience’s sympathy as well, that they will pity him and feel depressed with him. 

The film feels cultural as well, as it shows the condition in Iran – the streets and various places, along with their system – the authorities, government, media – how the imprisonment and interrogation work, how the presidential election works, how they have demonstration, protest, and riots. The characters sometimes speak Iranian language, too (with English subtitle), so the audience is fully aware of the setting. It is nicely filmed, how every little thing leads the audience to one impression, how the authorities are being injustice to Bahari, accusing him for something he does not do, only to silence him for being truthful about what he has witnessed.

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