Rosewater, Blu-ray (2015)

by | Feb 16, 2015 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews

Rosewater, Blu-ray (2015)

Director: Jon Stewart
Cast: Gael Garcia Bernal, Kim Bodnia, Haluk Bilginer
Studio: OpenRoad/ Universal 55166144 (Blu-ray & DVD) [2/10/15]
Music: Howard Shore
Video: 1.85:1 for 16:9 1080p HD color
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1, DD 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
No region coding
Extras: Iran’s Controversial Election, The Story of Maziar Bahari, Real Spies Have TV Shows?, What Happens in New Jersey…, A Director’s Perspective, Previews
Length: 208 minutes
Rating: ****

During a 2009 sketch on Jon Stewart’s comedy Daily Show, Bahari was interviewed and called Iran’s president Ahmadinejad “an idiot,” but Iran failed to get the joke. When Newsweek sent him to Tehran to cover the election, he is arrested and put in solitary confinement for 118 days, suspected of trying to overthrow the Iranian government. After his eventual release, Jon Stewart made his screen-writing and directorial debut with this fine film, based on Bahri’s book Then They Came for Me. The acting by the Mexican actor who appeared in the Che film is excellent.

I viewed the extras first. They seem to have no option for playing all thru, and as each is only a few minutes long, one has to go back to the menu and re-select again and again. While in Tehran, Bahari is satirically interviewed for the Daily Show, and it includes the interviewer claiming to be a spy, which of course is misunderstood by the Iranians since they don’t view it as satire.

The loneliness of Bahari in prison is well conveyed. Both his father and sister had died in prison due to their political activism. Long after having all communication cut off he learns that Hilary Clinton and his wife have been doing TV interviews and sending letters to get him out, and the scene where he silently dances around his solitary cell as a result is most moving. The first half about what happens before and after the rigged election is easier to take than the second half about his awful incarceration and punishment.

Not a feel-good movie, but worth viewing.

—John Sunier

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