Release Date: March 31st, 2006 (Cinema Village) by Kino International.
The Cast: Ali Nasirian, Hossein Farzi-Zadeh, Neda Pakdaman.
Directed by Mohammad Rasoulof.
In Farsi with subtitles.
BASIC PREMISE: In the Persian Gulf, an old ship that gradually sinks represents a home and a city for hundreds of poor Iranians.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Without a strong narrative, Iron Island feels very much like a documentary and intentionally so. Captain Nemat (Nasirian) rules over this fictional “island” at sea, which operates much like a normal society with laws, labor, and schooling. Captain Nemat has the right to kill anyone who breaks any law or rule that he makes. In this case, Ahmad (Farzi-Zadeh), a teenager, falls in love with a teenage girl (Pakdaman) just when the Captain wants her to get married to a wealthier man. The weak script makes it difficult to truly care about Ahmad or what happens to him, except when the Captain repeatedly tries to drown him in front of everyone. Writer/director Mohammad Rasoulof includes so many small yet fascinating details of this isolated society survives in unity. When you hear the Captain announcing that the ship is sinking, it’s difficult to get images from Titanic out of your head. However, Iron Island doesn’t go for overly dramatic, derivative scenes. There’s something mildly engaging about the plot’s overall simplicity. It would have been much more interesting to watch how this unique society adjusts to living on land. On a positive note, the cinematography is quite picturesque with some hauntingly beautiful scenery, especially the final, powerful shot.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: For all those interested in sociology and anthropology, Iron Island should be very insightful and thought-provoking. What actually helps this uncivilized society to progress? The answers to that include the simple, tangible necessities for survival such as water, food and shelter. But, concurrently, there are complex, intangible necessities such as communion, laws, labor and leadership which represent the glue for this society. Much of Iron Island is an allegory, such as the ship’s sinking represents the figurative sinking of Iranian society in the real world along as well as their difficult, uncivilized lifestyle under an authoritative leader.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Minimal plot and character development.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 2
IN A NUTSHELL: A fascinating allegory! Beautiful, haunting imagery! Minimalist plot and character development make it slightly less engaging and powerful.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (1st Run)
The "I" Menu