Between this and Argo, boy has American cinema turned an endlessly complicated event into a two-dimensional construct. Historical context or a decent grasp on the complexities at play? Don’t look here. Compelling and multi-layered characters? Nope, try again. But at least you get an international cast playing at accents. (Yeah, I mean you, Adrien Brody!) Well, except for Salma Hayek.
Septembers of Shiraz, or Enemy Territory depending on the location, follows a wealthy Iranian Jewish family as the revolution erupts around them. Do they support or oppose the revolution? I couldn’t tell you, but it isn’t long until Brody’s patriarch is imprisoned, tortured, and vainly trying to plead for mercy and escape. Hayek keeps the home fire burning, tries to get information on where her husband is and his alleged crimes, all the while sparring with the longtime housekeeper (Shohreh Aghdashloo, once again too good for the material handed to her). That’s it, that’s the entire movie.
If you’re wondering if there’s a happy ending and a reunion, there is. The myopic view of a fraught time demands a simplistic ending, just as it demands simplistic heroes and villains. The elites are poor victims of an ungrateful lower class, the revolutionaries are greedy thieves, and very little is made of the political and religious ideologies at play. What do you get? Another generic pseudo-history from Hollywood that’s too narrow-minded to develop anything beyond totems and slogans.