The Salesman Reviewed By Jarred Tito

The Premise
Forced to leave their collapsing house, Ranaa and Emad, an Iranian couple who happen to be performers rehearsing for Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman" rent a new apartment from one of their fellow performers. Unaware of the fact that the previous tenant had been a woman of ill repute having many clients, they settle down. By a nasty turn of events one of the clients pays a visit to the apartment one night while Ranaa is alone at home taking a bath and the aftermath turns the peaceful life of the couple upside down.

The Review
Asghar Farhadi’s reputation as the director who runs countless rehearsals for each scene in order to achieve absolute believability known as, ‘neo-realism’, has created another masterful and suspense filled drama which kept me on the edge of my emotional seat throughout the movie. Perhaps with the exception of comedy, ‘The Salesman’ takes you through just about every emotion imaginable. The film carefully draws you into its labyrinth of ‘emotional twists’ and ‘plot revelations’ which in turn leave you both exhilarated and exhausted. Each character’s dimensions thicken to near breaking point. However, I can assure you that it is worth the effort. For this reason, I say that, ‘The Salesman’ is a tribute to the director’s, actor’s and writer’s ability to create such palatable tension, which I found absolutely entertaining, while serving up a kaleidoscope of conflicting arguments which seemed to give justification and purpose to each character depending whose point of view you were taking.

I would have loved to have attended an actual rehearsal of one the scenes just to experience the tension as was formed and expanded to reach the dramatic pinnacles which they achieved. Ironically, it is the simplistic performances and not the over dramatized ones that occur in this film, that capture the stark power of the human struggle which impacted me the most. Often the expectation of a drama that is said to be powerful is that every scene is loaded with fierce exchanges and exaggerated plot objectives. Yet not with this one. Farhadi’s steady hand in story telling keeps the pace and plot unfolding at just the right speed, letting us the audience, in on just enough of the plot to keep the whole experience exciting and stimulating.

There are some tremendous performances from the cast including Shahab Hosseini who won Cannes best actor award, and Taraneh Alidoosti who has a fantastic performance as his wife. It’s hard to find movies where all the characters truly matter in the outcome of the plot but in ‘The Salesman’ everyone that has a talking role is critical to the outcome. It really is an exceptionally well crafted and thought out plot and story.

The Verdict
This is definitely one of the cinematic gems for the year which is well worth the ticket price. If you have experienced any of Farhadi’s movies before and enjoyed them, you will not be disappointed. There are definitely shades of his Academy award winning film, ‘A Separation’ apparent in the style of this film in terms of the pace and thickening plot, as well as a more international moral objective which many could relate to around the world. It is definitely one not to miss. Although, in my opinion, not quite as good as, ‘A Separation’, but certainly one that I would highly recommend.  

The Trailer

The Info
Releases: 6th April 2017
Rating: M – Contains adult themes
Duration: 125 minutes 
Genre:  Drama
Starring: Taraneh Alidoosti, Shahab Hosseini, Babak Karimi, Mina Sadati, Mehdi Koushki, Farid Sajjadi Hosseini, Maral Bani Adam, Mojtaba Pirzadeh
Director: Asghar Farhadi (A Separation, The Past, About Elly)

The Extras
Farhadi was so taken by this project that he decided to stop his ongoing project in Spain with Penelope Cruz and return to Iran to shoot this movie in his home country.

During early production, Farhadi posted an ad on social media asking people to send in short video auditions of themselves. Thousands of Iranians participated in this call for auditions with the hope of appearing in Farhadi's latest film.

The movie broke the opening weekend box office record in Iran.

This is Asghar Farhadi's 4th collaboration with Taraneh Alidoosti and third with Shahab Hosseini.

The shooting was stopped due to the sudden death of Yadollah Najafi, famous sound recorder in this project.

This is the 4th movie by Farhadi that submit from Iran to compete in OSCAR. Three previous movies are: 1. About Eli 2. A Separation 3. The Past. He won Oscar for A Separation.

The original persian title is "Forushande" which means The Salesman. Because of the French film "Le Vendeur," which means "the salesman," the French title was changed to Le Client, which means "the customer."