Gholam review, Shahab Hosseini delivers a nuanced performance


Shahab Hosseini, who deservedly won recognition for his intense performance in Asghar Farhadi’s The Salesman, offers a nuanced study in acting minimalism with this melancholy portrait of a man living in exile in London, never quite beyond the reach of his own troubled past. It’s a feature debut for Iranian artist-turned-writer-director Mitra Tabrizian, whose background in still photography perhaps explains the crepuscular cinematography.

Hosseini plays Gholam, a taciturn immigrant who works as a minicab driver by night and mechanic by day in a garage owned by kindly Mr Sharif (eminent Iranian actor Behrouz Behnejad). At the cafe run by his uncle, Gholam runs into a former colleague from his army days years ago, who wants to entice him into some shady business, maybe to do with politics. (The story takes place in 2011, during the height of the Arab spring.)

Tabrizian’s world building is less convincing when it comes to the non-Iranian characters in the story, such as a gang of skinhead thugs and a saintly old African-Caribbean woman Gholam hopes to help. But less assured touches are balanced out by a keen eye for the lonely anonymity of London’s streets, back alleys and strip-lit convenience stores.

Source: The Guardian

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