The Stoning Of Soraya M.
- Director:Cyrus Nowrasteh
- Cast:James Caviezel , Shohreh Aghdashloo, Mozhan Marnò
- Release Date:May 27, 2010
- Running time:114 minutes
- Film Worth:$15.50
- FILMINK rates movies out of $20 - the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth
Beautifully shot and skillfully told, this is a phenomenal and unforgettable piece of cinema.
Iran, circa 1986. A French-Iranian journalist is passing an isolated mountain village when his car breaks down. The mayor and religious leader greet him, feigning a warm welcome. But the reporter - Freidoune Sahebjam (James Caviezel), who wrote the book upon which this film is based - is nervous, and desperate to get back to France. He's approached by Zahra (Shohreh Aghdashloo), who the village officials tell him to ignore - she's "insane", they say. But a dogged Zahra connects with Sahebjam. She has a story to tell - a true story that will test your mettle.
Zahra's niece, Soraya (Mozhan Marno), has just been stoned death, convicted under Sharia law of adultery. The title tells you what you're in for, and writer/director Cyrus Nowrasteh is unflinching in his portrayal of the brutal event. A foreboding tension acts as the film's pulse, and it doesn't ease until the final scene. Beautifully shot, the storytelling is masterful. It's disturbing yet engrossing, as we watch Soraya's self-interested husband, Ali (Navid Negahban), scheming and blackmailing to have his wife "legally" murdered.
On the surface, this is about Iranian women, but underneath it's an archetypical story, and the village setting heightens that sense. It's about the shocking things that people can inflict on others, and about those who stand by, allowing horror to happen. It's also about defiance, dignity and familial love.
With her exceptional beauty and commanding screen presence, Shohreh Aghdashloo (House Of Sand And Fog) is incredible as Zahra, while Mozhan Marno's innocent Soraya is heartbreakingly real.
The Stoning Of Soraya M. hits you in the gut. It's a phenomenal piece of cinema, but there are many who will read about it and think, "I don't need to go there." Those who do will be rewarded by meeting these two women. They, and this film, are unforgettable.