Cannes 74: ‘A Hero’ Review
Asghar Farhadi’s A Hero is a tale of innocent dishonesty, required by the adverse circumstances in which Rahim finds himself entangled. Trying to avoid going back to jail for an unpaid debt, the protagonist chains himself in a series of naïve lies, which despite being harmless, end up undermining his credibility.
This is a film about searching. First, Rahim looks to put together enough money to pay off his debt and regain his freedom, and in the second half, he looks for the anonymous witness who could attest his genuine act of goodwill. Ultimately, we are unsure about his altruism. Our trust in him shakes, and so does that of the many people who blindly believed and supported him throughout the picture - the same people who turned him into a hero and social celebrity for returning a lost bag with gold coins to its original owner. We witness, and in a sense even take part, in Rahim’s rise and fall, and the film conclusively comments on people’s frivolousness to commit and believe in anything they wish to be true, without first checking any facts, and how easily they can change their mind.
Liar and possibly an opportunist, Rahim finally becomes the real victim of this vicious manipulatory system, where even his son with a speech impediment is exploited on social media to boost his empathy. The original quest for honour keeps fading away as the story unfolds and doubts are raised.