The comedian and TV host Jon Stewart makes an unlikely directorial debut with this fact-based drama set in Iran.   



The smell of injustice: Gael García Bernal and Kim Bodnia


When the Canadian-Iranian Newsweek journalist Maziar Bahari visited Tehran to cover the 2009 elections, he was arrested by the Revolutionary Guard. This was because shortly beforehand he had been contacted by Comedy Central’s TV news satire The Daily Show and was interviewed on camera... Fittingly, then, the TV show’s public face, Jon Stewart, has decided to take up Bahari’s story and herewith makes his directorial and screenwriting debut. It’s a well-made and worthy effort, and the likeable and perennially boyish Gael García Bernal is a canny choice to play the incarcerated journalist. As prison dramas go, though, the film lacks the visceral force of more recent efforts – such as Starred Up and A Prophet – but then Stewart hasn’t chosen the most dramatic of subjects. Basically it’s a war of wills between a blindfolded Bahari and his interrogator (Kim Bodnia, from Killing Eve), the latter identified by his smell of rosewater (hence the title).

Cast: Gael García Bernal, Kim Bodnia, Haluk Bilginer, Claire Foy, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Dimitri Leonidas, Golshifteh Farahani.

Dir Jon Stewart, Pro Scott Rudin, Jon Stewart and Gigi Pritzker, Screenplay Jon Stewart, from the memoir Then They Came for Me by Maziar Bahari and and Aimee Molloy, Ph Bobby Bukowski, Pro Des Gerald Sullivan, Ed Jay Rabinowitz, Music Howard Shore, Costumes Phaedra Dahdaleh.

OddLot Entertainment/Busboy Productions-The Works UK Distribution.
102 mins. USA. 2014. Rel: 8 May 2015. Cert. 15.