Posted Oct 28 2015

Rosewater - This Stewart Rocks

Dir: Jon Stewart

Starring Gael Garcia Bernal, Kim Bodnia, Haluk Bilginer

Jon Stewart, here making his directorial debut, kind of owes one to Maziar Bahari, after all it was in part an appearance on Stewart’s Daily Show that got the reporter banged up in an Iranian prison for several months.

So, appropriately, Stewart adapts Bahari’s book of those events into a very powerful, and frighteningly relevant drama.

Bernal is note perfect as the innocent reporter, arrested for treason, interrogated as a spy, incapable (initially) of going along with his interrogators, determined to see his wife again and meet his unborn child. Stewart also allows himself to bring a certain degree of humour to proceedings – Iranian inquisitors have a keen interest in massage it seems – which only serves to humanise the piece.

He also displays a knack for dropping in memorable moments that linger long in the mind – the look on Bernal’s face (and the subsequent montage) as he realises the outside world has not forsaken him, the moment when Bahari dances round his cell to the imagined strains of Leonard Cohen.

Whether this is a one-off for Stewart or a sign of a new career path remains to be seen. But Rosewater is clearly a personal film with a strong powerful world message, one that on a daily basis becomes more and more incisive and potent.



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