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Rosewater

Just getting around to writing up last week's movie because I've been lazy and/or busy. Actually last weekend really was kinda busy. I lucked out in that I'd caught advance screenings of most of the new releases, leaving only my obligatory minimum of one movie thus maintaining my 26+ week streak on foursquare of going to the same theater. Reason for the craziness is that I was in a dance show! Kind of a low key deal, but last minute rehearsals and performances left lil time for cinematic adventures.

Rosewater is the true story of an Iranian born journalist, Maziar Bahari, who was working in the UK for Newsweek. He's sent back to his home country to report on their elections and ends up imprisoned and falsely accused of being a spy. What I find most interesting about this is that one of the pieces of supposed evidence against him was an interview he'd filmed for The Daily Show. Clearly meant as a comedic piece, the Iranian officials holding him instead used it against him. Because of the friendship they formed as a result of his role in these terrible events, Jon Steward adapted Bahari's book about the ordeal, and makes his feature film debut as a director.

There are a lot of current events and political issues around the world that I know nothing about. To be honest, I'm just not that interested. You can make any dumb American accusations at me, but I'm just not likely going to pick up a Time magazine and start being an activist for these myriad of causes. However, sometimes I feel that it is right for me to at least make some effort to educate myself, and this film felt like that kind of opportunity.

I saw a review that said this film felt split in half. The stronger half being the opening where Bahari was covering the elections and trying to expose the government corruption. The second half deals with his imprisonment. I do agree with those observations. Much more happened early on, and that's where I felt I learned so much. The second half had less action and plot advancement, but it was certainly the more emotional piece. Neither part would have amounted to anything without the other.

Gael Garcia Bernal plays Bahari and gives an incredible and weighty performance. He's such a good actor and does not get the type of attention he deserves, and he deserves to be noticed by Oscar some day soon. He plays the role with such sympathy and conviction, this is the guy you want to play you in your biopic.

I also think Stewart was an interesting choice in director, not just because of his connection to our protagonist, but because of his media savvy and general knowledge of world events. There were of course lots of newscasts thrown in, as well as a glimpse into the infamous Daily Show bit, but I also liked how he'd overlay headlines. Or would display news on the walls. I'm not describing it correctly, but you'll know what I mean when you see it. And you should. It's not as flashy as some of the awards bait that's out there now, but it's just as important and affecting.

Rosewater - \m/ \m/ \m/ \n
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