Critics' Pick

No Date, No Signature (Bedoune Tarikh, Bedoune Emza) (NR)

Drama 104 min. August 1, 2018
By Craig D. Lindsey
Much like the work of his countrymen Asghar Farhadi and Abbas Kiarostami, writer-director Vahid Jalilvand’s No Date, No Signature is a soberly made piece of melodramatic neorealism featuring just-trying-to-live characters who are forced to make moral decisions in a world where doing the right thing is usually a luxury that cannot be afforded. It’s a film about two men making the wrong decision at the exact same time.

On a highway at night, an aggressive speeding driver causes forensic pathologist Kaveh Nariman (Amir Aghaei) to knock a family of four, all riding a single motorcycle, off the highway. The only one who appears to have injuries is a small boy, who is suffering a slight pain in the back of his head. The doctor advises them to go to the nearest clinic to get checked out, but Moosa (Navid Mohammadzadeh), the boy’s father, ignores this and drives off into the night.

You can probably see where this is going. The boy’s dead body winds up at Nariman’s hospital. Even though the autopsy rules that the kid died of botulism, a shocked and shaken Nariman keeps himself distant from the family, hiding in plain sight while trying to determine whether the accident was the true cause.

Once Nariman learns of the boy’s death, Aghaei effectively gives off a pained, ashamed vibe for most of the movie. You can plainly catch the guilt eating up Nariman, even when his back is to the camera. As the dad, Mohammadzadeh plays guilt in a more explosive, tortured manner. I’ve never seen an actor convey as convincingly the rage and confusion a parent must go through after the sudden death of a child.
Vahid Jalilvand Amir Agha'ee, Navid Mohammadzadeh, Hediyeh Tehrani Ali Zarnegar, Vahid Jalilvand Distrib Films


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