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ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Revenge -- Sweet or Sour?
by Betty Jo Tucker

Writer/director Asghar Farhadi borrows “Death of a Salesman” to serve as a kind of backdrop to The Salesman, the story of a troubled husband and wife who both have acting roles in a Tehran amateur theater production of Arthur Miller’s famous play. The “trouble” involves a brutal attack on the wife and the husband’s obsession with revenge.

Shahab Hosseini (A Separation) and Taraneh Alidoosti (About Elly) deliver mesmerizing performances in this riveting movie. As Emad, the husband, Hosseini reminds me of James Stewart in Vertigo. Like Stewart’s character in that classic Hitchcock thriller, Emad is consumed by obsession; his whole spirit appears infected.  And like Vertigo, The Salesman also reveals the dangers of such extreme behavior. Alidoosti (About Elly) portrays Rana, the wronged wife, with a depth of feeling that evokes our empathy in all of her scenes. Both Hosseini and Alidoosti put their expressive eyes to excellent use throughout this terrific motion picture.

Why “Death of a Salesman,” you ask? I think it’s because Willy Loman, the character Emad plays in the live production, brings out Emad’s feelings of inadequacy. And the play gives viewers an opportunity to watch changes in Emad and Rana as they get into their costumes and makeup for each performance.                

Revenge is sweet some people say.

But sometimes that is not the way.

THE SALESMAN takes a closer look

at vengeance and how it should cook.


A married woman gets attacked.

Then her husband goes way off track.

A fuss the wife just cannot bear.

The thing she wants is hubby’s care.


Hurting the man who did this deed

becomes the husband’s greatest need.

Who will be harmed when all is done?

Revenge can take down more than one.


All actors get inside their parts

by reaching down into their hearts.

Using an Arthur Miller play

as backdrop works, I have to say!

NOTE: The Salesman does not include any background music. Although I can’t recommend that for every film, it was the right decision for this one. It makes everything happening on screen seem more real.     

Revenge, the sweetest morsel to the mouth that ever was cooked in hell. – Walter Scott.

The same one who mistreated you will be the one needing you. So don’t hesitate. Because that will be the best positive revenge. --- Manasa Rao Saarloos

(Released by Cohen Media Group and rated “PG-13” for mature thematic elements and a brief bloody image.)

For more information about The Salesman, go to the IMDb or Rotten Tomatoes website.

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