Although best known as the confrontational presenter of the satirical The Daily Show, Jon Stewart’s first film is a restrained and sensitive drama recounting the 118-day ordeal of journalist and filmmaker Maziar Bahari (Gael García Bernal), arrested as a spy while reporting for Newsweek on the contentious 2009 Iranian presidential elections. Once imprisoned, Bahari is ruthlessly interrogated on a daily basis by a man he identifies only by his scent, who attempts to force from him a confession of his role as a part of a generic conspiracy against Iran and its people.
As a defence against the psychological stresses of his situation, Bahari conducts imaginary conversations with his father and sister (Golshifteh Farahani, in a canny piece of casting), both of whom had suffered under previous regimes. Claustrophobic and intense, though not without moments of humour, Rosewater is a fine debut. (Notes by Kevin Coyne.)
Don’t forget we now schedule weekly.
★★★★ The Guardian