CRITICAL / FILM OPINION – In “Black Market”, three men try to get rid of several corpses. A formidable starting point for this Iranian thriller signed Abbas Amini which changes course thereafter, without losing power.
Black market : three characters at the slaughterhouse
From its first minutes, Black market reaches an intensity which, if it never disappears afterwards, drops back slightly. During the masterful introduction, Abed (Hassan Pourshirazi), keeper of a completely helpless slaughterhouse, asks his son Amir (Amirhossein Fathi) for help. Faced with the pressure put on him by his boss Motevalli (Mani Haghighi, impressive), Abed seeks to get rid of the corpses of three dead men in a cold room.
The framework openly serves as a metaphor for a country in the throes of a financial crisis that is suffocating its inhabitants. A situation that the director Abbas Amini compares to a butcher. A butcher at work in this eminently symbolic place. From the outset, the balance of power linked to the social positions of the protagonists come up against the viewer head-on, as do their fears and frustrations.
Establishing an atmosphere of thriller, this opening manages above all to set up the moral dilemmas which will be confronted by the three characters throughout the film. The latter gain momentum when the two children of one of the victims set out in search of their father. They carry out their own investigation, starting by questioning Amir and Abed.
Quickly, Abbas Amini confirms that the cause of death that the three protagonists are trying to eliminate is only a secondary element of the plot. It serves above all to highlight the impunity of one of them, who has no harm in living with deaths on your conscience and imposes its authority throughout the rest of the feature film.
While the ruthless boss Motevalli thus continues his existence without scruples, Abed and Amir continue to suffer poverty, while concealing a terrible secret about their place of life. One of the strongest scenes in the film is an argument between father and son over Iran’s economy. The second then tries to make the first aware that he is victim of a system he criticizes and thinks he understands.
Amir quickly becomes central in the story and bridges all the other characters. He finds himself torn between his father and Motevalli, who does not hesitate to hire him after having entrusted him with his dirty work. Information on this anti-hero is gradually being revealed. The spectator learns in particular that he was expelled from France where he spent two years in prison, and that his return to his country of origin to try to find appeasement does not go as planned because of a chain. bad decisions, which give a tragic dimension at Black market.
The impossible redemption
In addition to helping his father conceal corpses due to family pressure, trafficking dollars for Motevalli due to financial pressure, Amir comes under pressure from Asra (Baran Kosari), determined to find his father. Their relationship first marked by mistrust, then by a form of mutual attraction, reaches its climax during a sequence depicting the black market, during which they must flee when the authorities arrive.
A key passage that reveals that Amir may not be able to extricate himself from the quagmire in which he finds himself. Apart from a few striking situations, including this nocturnal race to escape the police, the suspense of the feature film goes mainly through hesitations and remorse which never cease to eat away at him.
Abbas Amini emphasizes the fatalism of Black market until the final chase, where the inability to redeem oneself becomes overwhelming. The film ends with a suspended moment, leaving the character breathless, helpless. Until the end, the losers remain losers. A chilling observation, with which the feature film finds its starting point anchored in the thriller, a genre from which it deviates to focus on a powerful political point, before returning to it to close his relentless trap on his magnificent anti-hero, hung from the hooks of the slaughterhouse from the start.
Black market by Abbas Amini, released on January 5, 2022. Above the trailer. Find all our trailers here.