"What Are You After?"
Brian E. Erland | Brea, CA - USA | 04/08/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Note: Presented in Persian, Arabic and English, with subtitles.
Synopsis: A distraught Iranian named Ghassem (Hamid Farokhnezhad) hopes to discover a new life for his pregnant wife Nargess (Leila Hatami), son and himself by leaving his native Iran and escaping to the West. He perceives his only way out is by hijacking a plane and seeking asylum in Dubai. In order to lessen the odds of being overtaken by fellow passengers he invites a large number of family and friends to come along under the pretext of having new jobs at a British oil company arranged for everyone.
However the fun and excitement turns deadly when Ghassem makes his intentions known when he overpowers the security guard onboard and begins waving his gun around. Is Ghassem alone in his dream to escape to a better life or will the other passengers re-evaluate the lives they lead in Iran and decide to join in on the escape?
Critique: I was initially attracted to the '02 Iranian film `Low Heights' for one simple reason, its co-star is the enchanting Leila Hatami. I really didn't expect much from this low budget production but I must say I was quite surprised by the end. The story begins rather slowly and has the feel of a rather silly comedy, but once the hijacking is in progress the mood and tempo change drastically and the viewer finds himself/herself involved in a taunt, dramatic and complicated tale of competing hopes and dreams, familial relationships, cultural beliefs and political ideologies.
There are also a number of unexpected twists and turns that keep you wondering what's going to happen until the very end. In fact the ending turns out to be quite surreal and ambiguous, so you still may be unsure as to how things turned out. I think that was director Ebrahim Hatamikia's intention."