Home :: Film News :: Find a Birthday :: Dark version :: Persian Weblog :: Forum :: Contact
Welcome to Online Film Home!


‘The Gravedigger’s Wife’ :: Somalia’s first-ever Oscar submission 2022
Charming and wistful without ever feeling maudlin, The Gravedigger's Wife is a beautiful love letter to the power of love and family. It is a striking first from a filmmaker and cast..
Slavoj Zizek’s modern adaptation of Antigone brings the ancient tragedy up to date, with politicians and decision-makers in all roles. Antigone is used to explain democracy, the women's movement and moral philosophy - by both opponents and supporters of totalitarian..
Timbuktu :: The Nightmarish Perversion of "Justice"
Timbuktu movingly attests to the human will to resist the terrors and injustices of absolutism. It encapsulates the essential truth of violent extremism: to destroy grace and beauty..
‘HYENAS’ :: Another newly restored Masterpiece!
The Senegalese director Djibril Diop Mambéty's allegory about the destructive effect of global financial powers on society's morality has been newly restored...
When a City Rises :: Sydney Film Festival
One of the most complete accounts of the Hong Kong pro-democracy protests to date. It’s also, at times, an unbearably tense picture which unfolds with urgency of a thriller..
‘In Between Dying’ :: Hilal Baydarov’s seventh film in the last three years
The enigmatic and strangely arresting tale of a man who can't escape death. In Between Dying is a rather curious cinematic experience, but it’s one that is striking and unique in its..
VENICE 2021 :: Ennio: The Maestro
Ennio is Giuseppe Tornatore’s well-rounded portrait of Ennio Morricone, the most popular and prolific film composer of the 20th century, the one most loved by the international public, a two-time Oscar winner and the author of..
Cinema Regained :: The new restoration of Chess of the Wind
A long-lost, legendary classic of Iranian New Wave cinema, The Chess Game of the Wind, was probably the most internationally celebrated revelation/restoration of 2020..
It's Showtime :: The 14th Annual Iranian Film Festival - San Francisco
Due to the current pandemic situation, the Iranian Film Festival will be VIRTUAL this year, presenting a record-breaking 60 films at its 14th annual event, September 18-19, 2021..
HAUGESUND 2021 :: Charlotte Sieling :: Director of Margrete – Queen of the North :: Interview
The Danish director discusses her film about the monarch that ruled Scandinavia. Ten years in the making and going six centuries back,..
VENICE 2021 :: Awards
Venice’s Golden Lion goes to Happening by Audrey Diwan. Other big European winners of the evening include Paolo Sorrentino, awarded the Jury’s Grand Prize for The Hand of God, and Penélope Cruz who..
Avicii: True Stories :: So wake me up when it's all over
An Icarus style portrait of a sensitive young man who was thrust too readily into the hedonistic world of the international music scene..
Movie Review :: The Macaluso Sisters
There's undeniable beauty and truth to The Macaluso Sisters that cannot be overlooked. Genuinely moving, captivating and, most importantly, grounded in pure, unadulterated humanism..
Samereh Rezaie :: Actress and director
Afghan actress- director Samereh Rezaie talks about how important it is for the international community to continue supporting women and human rights in Afghanistan..
VENICE 2021 :: Orizzonti :: Promises :: Isabelle Huppert
Promises opened the Orizzonti line-up of the 78th Venice Film Festival - follows the current French film trend of broaching topics associated with public governance where..
Margrethe II, Queen of Denmark, hired to design set on new Netflix film
Queen of Denmark is to design the sets for a forthcoming Netflix film adapted from a novel by Karen Blixen, it has been announced..
‘Stillwater’ :: A tale of hard-earned second chances
Stillwater isn't perfect, but its thoughtful approach to intelligent themes -- and strong performances from its leads -- give this timely drama a steadily building power..
Persian Lessons :: Movie Review
Director Vadim Perelman creates a skilfully unfussy period style, avoiding genre cliches to focus on characters who are finely brought to life by an excellent cast..
‘Born a Champion’ :: A love letter to jiu-jitsu
Real-life Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt Sean Patrick Flanery (The Boondock Saints) stars as an aging fighter pulled into an underground Dubai tournament..
August 20-28
Karlovy Vary 2021

Michael Caine to receive Crystal Globe at 2021 Karlovy Vary film festival. He will join Johnny Depp and Ethan Hawke at this year’s film festival in Karlovy Vary..
VENICE 2021 Competition
'Parallel Mothers' to open the 78th Venice Film Festival
The Spanish director, Pedro Almodóvar, who claims "It was in Venice, in 1983, that I was reborn as a director" will present his film..
Cannes 2021 :: ‘Titane’ Wins Palme d’Or
Julia Ducournau becomes only the second female director to claim Cannes' top prize. The grand jury prize was awarded to A hero, of Iranian Asghar Farhadi, and for Hyutti No. 6..
‘Gringo: The Dangerous Life of John McAfee’
Filmmaker Nanette Burstein tries to unravel the strange behavior of John McAfee, who left his life as a software mogul to become a recluse in the jungles of Belize..
Berlinale 2021 :: Souad :: Movie Review
'Souad' is remarkable not just for its razor- sharp, nonjudgmental insight, but also for the nuanced performances making each character rounded yet ultimately unknowable..
Berlinale 2021
Summer Special highlights

Cinema is back in Berlin! The Berlinale Summer Special opened on June 9 with a red carpet gala. Here are a few snapshots of the event. During the Summer Special from June 9-20..
CANNES 2021 :: ‘Year of the Everlasting Storm’
A sweeping and melancholic first trailer has arrived for Neon’s Secret Cannes Project, “The Year of the Everlasting Storm.” With films by Jafar Panahi, Anthony Chen, Malik Vitthal, ..
A New Book Reveals
Why Frank Sinatra believed Marilyn Monroe was murdered

"I tried to paint the portrait of a man very few people got to know as well as I did, I think he knew someday I'd share the stories he..
BERLINALE 2021 :: Awards :: 13 June :: 2 More Winners
The Berlinale adds two more winners to its list with Alice Diop’s We and Dasha Nekrasova’s The Scary of Sixty-First. The films scored the Awards for the Best Berlinale Documentary..
Netflix Declined Cannes Invite

Netflix Declined Invites to Premiere the Palme d'Or winner Jane Campion’s ‘The Power of the Dog’ and Andrew Dominik’s ‘Blonde’. Cannes general delegate Thierry Frémaux revealed..
CANNES 2021 :: 6 - 17 July
The Cannes behemoth is back

16 filmmakers who have already taken part in the competition are battling it out with eight new entrants; 14 Europeans will be vying for Cannes’ coveted top prize..
14th Annual Iranian Film Festival :: San Francisco
Call For Film Submissions Open For the 14th Annual Iranian Film Festival – San Francisco, the first independent Iranian film festival outside of Iran. To submit your film, please..
‘The Long Excuse’ :: Review
Writer-director Miwa Nishikawa’s somber reflection on the strains of marriage and parenthood is punctuated with beautiful existential undertones. Centered on liars and swindlers — self-deception is the theme of..
Putin: A Russian Spy Story :: TV Series (2020)
An exploration of how Vladimir Putin deployed his knowledge of spy-craft as a politician, and how modern Russia evolved through an acute sense of betrayal, pride and anger..
‘Driveways’ :: Review
Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

The modest story of a mother, her son and an elderly neighbor feels like a salve right now—and gives Brian Dennehy a deserving swan song. Understated yet powerful..
Spreading Propaganda Through Films and TV
Intelligence agencies in Iran are increasingly using state-funded entertainment productions to spread state propaganda and improve their image among the public..
'Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade' :: Clever and Chilling Anime
In an authoritarian Japan, Fuse, part of an anti-terrorist police brigade, faces an internal enquiry. On a recent operation he hesitated to kill a female terrorist because of her youth..
Golden Globe Winners 2021 ::
'Nomadland' director Chloé Zhao won Best Director, making history as the first woman of Asian descent to take home that award, while the film itself won Best Motion – Picture Drama; Soul, Borat, The Queen's Gambit..
'How Fernando Pessoa Saved Portugal' :: Eugène Green
For years Portugal was the only country in Europe where there was no Coca-Cola. The director discusses his new "mini-film," devoted to the great Portuguese poet, advertising..
Copenhagen 2021 :: Vinterberg's 'Druk' snatches Five Robert Statuettes
In the category, Vinterberg was, among other things, up against himself, as he was also nominated for his role in the film “Riders..
Zindagi Tamasha :: Circus of Life :: 2020
‘It went from love to wanting to kill me.’ Sarmad Khoosat was the darling of Pakistan’s entertainment industry until his new film fell foul of fundamentalists – who called for him..
'No Choice' :: Tokyo 2020
It’s a slippery path up the mountain of human rights. Three good women clash when a determined lawyer takes on the case of a homeless girl against an idealistic doctor in Reza Dormishian’s legal thriller..
'Wife of a Spy' :: An intriguing marital battle
Winner of the best director award at the Venice Film Festival. An absorbing, exotic, well-paced thriller with moments of disconcerting realism and horror. Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s..
"Actress's Ears" Put Film Screening in Jeopardy
Panthea Bahram, a famous Iranian actress, whose presence last year with shaved head at the press conference to a movie made news; reacted to the removal of "Killer and..
'Hope Gap' :: A Bracingly Original Drama
There's an unusual calmness to this drama that feels bracingly original. William Nicholson's Hope Gap benefits from a starry cast in the stagey story. Nighy and Bening are as good..
'Killer and Wild' removed from the Fajr Film Festival
A movie with Iranian actress Leila Hatami in the leading role was excluded from a major Film Festival event in Iran due to her 'shaved head and exposed ears' ..
Maria is a Greek policewoman, struggling with her money problems, teenage daughter, old mother.. Yussof is a Syrian rebel, on his way out of a war-ridden Syria. Both have killed unwantedly, both feel guilty, but together..
51st Edition Of IFFI 2021
The 51st edition of India’s International Film Festival (IFFI) kick started on 16th January at Goa, which opened with the Indian premier of the movie ‘Another Round’ by Thomas Vinterberg..
'Alone' :: Movie Review
"Alone" is admirably straightforward, exploring tried- and-true archetypes with suspenseful execution. Director John Hyams demonstrates a minimalistic knack for showing and not telling,..
'The Female Voice of Iran' :: Feature documentary 2020
Independent documentary about female singers inside Iran and their deep wish: "I want my voice to be heard." Captivating...beautiful music and stunning..
'The Father' :: Movie Review
Sundance: Florian Zeller's film makes an inexplicably cruel element of the human condition recognizable in a way that only good art can. Anthony Hopkins and Olivia Colman Inside the Brutal Matrix of Dementia..
‘Money Heist’ :: As smart as it is relentless
Like a criminal who has trapped themselves within a situation in which there’s no simple escape, Money Heist is a riveting, inescapable show with a narrative jackpot at the end of it..
'Vivos' :: Ai Weiwei's Mournful Ode to the Disappeared
Vivos is a documentary feature film by artist and filmmaker Ai Weiwei, portraying the human impact of Mexico’s ongoing crisis of enforced disappearances..
Family Romance, LLC (2020)
Love is a business at Family Romance, a company that rents human stand-ins for any occasion. Founder Yuichi Ishii helps make his clients’ dreams come true. But when the mother of 12-year-old Mahiro hires Ishii to..
'Let Him Go' (2020)
Kevin Costner excels in a gripping neo-western thriller. Let Him Go is a moving and gripping Western with particularly strong performances from Diane Lane as a grieving yet resolute mother and from Lesley Manville as her..
In Memoriam of Korean filmmaker Kim Ki-duk
In the small pool of filmmakers known for being provocative, Kim Ki-duk was the oddest of ducks. South Korean filmmaker Kim Ki-duk has died in Latvia aged 59 after contracting..
'The Life Ahead' (2020)
Loren has made it again! She's an absolute Goddess. The characters are colorful and empathetic, and even if the plot is simple, the cast keeps it up. Specially, Sophia Loren.. Sempre adorabile!
'What We Did on Our Holiday'
An exceedingly funny comedy that definitely borders on Black Comedy but still tinkers in the realm of being light hearted. It has a very kind of Outnumbered feel to it in which the kids play their innocence, yet brilliantly..
'Radiograph of a Family'
Iranian director Firouzeh Khosrovani triumphed at IDFA 2020 with her fourth film Radiograph of a Family, winning the main award in the IDFA Competition for Feature Length Documentary and the IDFA Competition for Creative Use of..
'Falling' :: Viggo Mortensen's Directorial Debut
A beautifully controlled drama about age, memory and forgiveness. Often abrasive, occasionally sweet, and sometimes grasping for transcendence, "Falling" doesn't feel like..
'Careless Crime' (2020) :: Movie Review
Iranian director Shahram Mokri, known for his single-shot films and his decided penchant for time-loops, achieves formalistic excellence in his latest effort..
Secrets of the Surface (2020)
Filmed in Canada, Iran, and the United States, 'Secrets of the Surface' examines the life and mathematical work of Maryam Mirzakhani, an Iranian immigrant to the United States who became a superstar in her field..
'Another Round' :: Review
Thomas Vinterberg reteams with "The Hunt" star for a darkly comic referendum on booze. Four friends, all high school teachers, test a theory that they will improve their lives by maintaining a constant level of alcohol in..
'There Is No Evil' :: Premiered at the 2020 Berlin Film Fest
Iranian filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof's 'There Is No Evil' has triumphed at the 70th Berlinale, picking up the Golden Bear. The director himself was not present..
'Tesla' :: Sundance Review
A fascinating, if unconventional, look at the singular life of Nikola Tesla as played by Ethan Hawke. Appropriately bold and ambitious, Tesla takes a number of risks that don't always pay off -- but Ethan Hawke's performance..
Documenting the Struggle for Women's Rights in Iran
One of the women featured in this short documentary, Nasrin Sotoudeh is now serving a decades-long sentence in Evin Prison in Iran. Released alongside Jeff Kaufman's..
'Bacurau' :: A John Carpenter-Inspired Revenge Fantasy
A settlement in rural Brazil, a doctor (played by a gaunt and fierce Sônia Braga), a school, a (disused) church, even a brothel, but no sheriff. Something strange is happening..
TALE OF THE SEA :: Film Review
One of Iran's major filmmakers is at the top of his game with this Ingmar Bergman-esque meditation on old age. One man's madness as a metaphor for the surreal lives of a whole nation..
'Ordinary Love' :: There is nothing Ordinary about Love
"Ordinary Love" is not a movie solely about cancer. It is a raw, on-screen adaptation of what hundreds of couples experience when their limits are tested - physically, mentally..
13th Annual Iranian Film Festival :: San Francisco
Call For Entries Open for the 13th Annual Iranian Film Festival – San Francisco, the first independent Iranian film festival outside of Iran..
'1982' :: Premiered at TIFF :: 2019
During the 1982 invasion of Lebanon at a private school on the outskirts of Beirut, 11-year-old Wissam tries to tell a classmate about his crush on her..
“Just Mercy” • Movie Review “Just Mercy” • Movie Review
Law Drama Inspired by True Events

By Douglas Davidson,  elementsofmadness.com
on April 10, 2020

"The truth may not set the man free, but his soul will no longer be bound."

Just Mercy dramatizes a real-life injustice with solid performances, a steady directorial hand, and enough urgency to overcome a certain degree of earnest advocacy. --Rotton Tomatoes

These are meaty topics that make Just Mercy a frequently hard watch ... but because where Just Mercy leaves its audience emotionally is very much relevant today. --Elements of Madness

In June of 1987, Walter “Johnny D” McMillian was arrested by Sherriff Tom Tate of Monroeville, Alabama, for the murder of eighteen-year-old Ronda Morrison.

The case had been unsolved for a year and Tate was keen to close it. Placed on death row before he was even sentenced, McMillian would remain there until March 1993. For the better part of six years, McMillian was held accountable for charges the evidence could not support.

So why was he imprisoned? The answer is both easy and hard: the color of his skin. Adapted from the bestselling book Just Mercy, written by McMillian’s lawyer and the head of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) Bryan Stevenson, the film of the same name introduces McMillian’s case and Stevenson’s rising journey, following both during that six year period.

Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton (Short Term 12) and adapted by Andrew Lanham (The Glass Castle), Just Mercy is a painful yet hopeful tale of what justice should look like: equal in the face of all.

The terrible truth is that the same personal angst that put McMillian behind bars remains just as present when the film hit theaters in 2019, as it did in 1987. For those, however, who remain optimistic, who understand that vigilance is a constant, the special features included in the home release may offer a pleasant jolt to the psyche with a reminder that you are not alone.

Director Destin Daniel Cretton and actors Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx on the set of JUST MERCY.

Just Mercy
dramatizes the several years between McMillian’s arrest, Stevenson’s journey from law school intern to founder of the EJI, and the profound impact that working with McMillian and other death row inmates had on Stevenson. It’s a film that is packed with incredible talent (Oscar-winner Jamie Fox, Michael B. Jordan, Oscar-winner Brie Larson, Rob Morgan, O’Shea Jackson, Jr., Rafe Spall) and whose message remains painfully timely.

It truly makes no difference how you feel about the death penalty and you’d be remiss to think that that is the focus of the film. Lanham’s script focuses on the fact that some of the people facing a death sentence don’t actually deserve it, that the punishment may fit the crime, but not the context. This is why the film doesn’t just focus on McMillian, portrayed by Foxx, but on Herbert Richardson, portrayed by Morgan, and a bit on Anthony Hinton, portrayed by Jackson, Jr.

The film would certainly be compelling as a law drama if it were to only track McMillian’s journey, except there’s a larger story of systemic prejudice against the Black community, the inequity of the justice system, and a failure to acknowledge context within the law. These are meaty topics that make Just Mercy a frequently hard watch, not because the actors do such an impressive job of conveying the real circumstances of these very real man or the fact that Cretton somehow makes this major studio project possess the spirit of an indie picture, but because where Just Mercy leaves its audience emotionally is very much relevant today.

O’Shea Jackson, Jr. as Anthony Hinton in JUST MERCY.

The approach to Just Mercy shouldn’t surprise as Cretton made a name for himself with 2013’s critical darling Short Term 12, featuring a cast of mostly unknowns including Larson, LaKeith Stanfield, Rami Malek, Stephanie Beatriz, Kaitlyn Dever, and John Gallagher Jr. He’s a director who clearly knows how to work with his cast, pulling out the best from them, and making it clear where the audience should place their focus.

Unlike how Clint Eastwood directed Richard Jewell, the other law drama released in 2019, Cretton didn’t approach the tale with a wide lens, instead favoring close-ups and mid-range shots for virtually every scene. Where Eastwood’s use of wider shots often conveyed the expansive pressure Richard Jewell faced under his scrutiny, Cretton’s tight direction imposes a feeling of intimacy between the audience and the characters. We see all the lines on the faces, the subtle glances, and kinesthetic responses. We, the audience, begin to feel the psychological pressure that is presented before us, as though the film extends itself beyond the screen, beckoning us to try to consider a point of view we may not have before, to consider a perspective kept hidden from our everyday lives, to remember that removing humanity from the justice system does not generate more justice, but sorrow and hopelessness.

Rob Morgan and director Destin Daniel Cretton on the set of JUST MERCY.

One aspect of Just Mercy that deeply surprises is how the film doesn’t preach, but presents. With the exception of three speeches given by Jordan’s Stevenson within the context of courtroom, this reviewer fails to think of a moment when a character prostrates another, thereby giving the audience a lecture. Instead, the combination of Lanham’s script, Cretton’s direction, and cast performances materializes into something less grand and more human, exploring the persistent nature of hateful people to ignore their prejudices and the resilience of a people to overcome accusations, slurs, violence, and more upon their bodies, yet fear losing their souls.

Take the case of Hinton, a man arrested because the officer though he looked guilty in his mug shot. He would not get exonerated for 30 years. Or, tragically, Richardson, a military veteran who came home from Vietnam suffering from PTSD and, during an episode, killed someone with a bomb. Rather than sending him for psychological evaluation upon his return or after the incident, Richardson was left without treatment on death row.

The film suggests that both men, while one was certainly guilty of murder, ended up where they did simply because of geography (the deep South) and the color of their skin. The key thing is that it suggests. It does not scream, it does not wail, it presents evidence after new evidence, and asks the audience if they, too, come to the same conclusion. If not, it hopes for them to ask themselves why.

Certainly McMillian’s case is the most compelling as an obviously innocent man framed for murder. Yet, even within that aspect of the film, the story seems as fine with a negative outcome as a positive one, if only because, as presented by Foxx’s performance, the truth of the events finally comes out. The truth may not set the man free, but his soul will no longer be bound.

Rob Morgan as Herbet Richardson in JUST MERCY.

For those looking for more information on the film, be advised that the included special features are as unique as the film. Perhaps seeing the film as an opportunity to inform, there’s an eight-minute featurette headlined by Bryan Stevenson expanding on how the EJI began, what it is, and how it’s expanded. Considering it began as two people with federal funding unable to get someone to rent them office space, the fact that the EJI now includes The Legacy Museum, a place which seeks to acknowledge and remember the legacy of the Black community is extraordinary. Six-minute featurette “This Moment Deserves” focuses on both Stevenson and Jordan, each taking the time to talk about the film, the events that inspired the film, and what it was like for each of them in making Just Mercy.

The least emotionally weighted of the featurettes is “Making Mercy,” a four-minute behind the scenes look at making the movie. What makes it so light is that rather than focusing exclusively on the principle cast and crew, “Making” also interviews interns, production accountant, grips, and more.

If you didn’t get the indie vibe from the film, “Making” certainly seals the deal. From the single featurette, it becomes clear that filming Just Mercy wasn’t just about the stars, but about the story, one which connected with literally everyone involved.

Behind the scenes look at the set of JUST MERCY.

It is, certainly, a bit of a curiosity that Just Mercy didn’t play as well with audiences. As of this writing, audience and critic scores on Rotten Tomatoes are high, suggesting that the film was received well, despite not making an impression during awards season. Then again, any film coming out in the year of Parasite, Once Upon a Time …in Hollywood, Jojo Rabbit, and The Irishman was likely to struggle.

The shame of it is that as bittersweet a cinematic experience as Just Mercy is, there’s enough positive within it to motivate others to jump in. Perhaps it’ll see an extended life on home video, especially when so many are locked indoors looking for something to uplift.

Delicious Delicious

Search Online Film Home:

fa en

Choose an item to go there!

Find a birthday!

Iran News