We open in mid-collapse: an Iranian couple, Emad (Shahab Hosseini) and Rana (Taraneh Alidoosti), soon to star in a blue-penciled staging of Death of a Salesman, are forced to relocate when their tenement begins to crumble. Their new apartment — the former home of an in-demand prostitute and an ex-John who didn’t get the memo regarding her relocation — threatens to crumble the marriage as well. Writer-director Asghar Farhadi’s (A Separation, About Elly) restless camera dogs his characters like a bleak future — not a drop of false emotion leaks from this faultless cast. The faint, near-imperceptible style with which Farhadi “opens up” scenes from Miller’s play squarely melds the two storylines. For two-thirds of its running time, attention must be paid to an exquisitely realized suspense-thriller. It isn’t until Farhadi borrows a calculable cup of revenge from the Death Wish cookbook that his soufflé begins to flatten.
Length: 2 hours, 5 minutes