So, is it true that no good deed goes unpunished? With his latest movie “A Hero,” Oscar-winning Iranian writer/director Asghar Farhadi continues to show why he’s one of the world’s finest filmmakers. This contemporary morality play is about a man serving time in an Iranian debtors’ prison who, while on a two-day leave from incarceration, makes headlines when he attempts to return a lost bag of gold to its rightful owner. Is he making an honest attempt to do the right thing or is he simply seeking publicity to shame his creditor into releasing him from his financial obligations? Farhadi adds layers of depth to this story that makes the answers to those questions difficult to nail down. Beautifully performed by a mix of professional and amateur actors, the heartbreaking drama “A Hero” is an intelligent, realistic, and thought-provoking movie from a master of his craft.
It’s been almost eight years since the ill-fated fantasy “The King’s Daughter” began production. It’s hard to know exactly why it has taken so long for it to hit theaters, but I hope you haven’t been holding your breath. “The King’s Daughter” -definitely not to be confused with “The King’s Man”-is an elaborate fantasy aimed squarely pre-teen girls. Others beware. King Louis XIV of France, played by Pierce Brosnan, captures a mermaid to kill it for its life essence and obtain immortality. The king’s illegitimate daughter, played by Kaya Scodelario, befriends the mermaid, and tries to save her. This is the sort of thing the folks at Disney could do in their sleep. The script is run-of-the-mill, the special effects are sketchy, and the romance is unconvincing. While its undemanding target audience might take to it, “The King’s Daughter” is a clumsy, fairytale that lacks the wit or heart to make it memorable.